Parents and guardians in Tana River County have been blamed for weakening the fight against early marriages and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Speaking in Madogo area, ahead of the marking of the International Day of the Girl Child that will be held on October 11, Bangale Deputy County Commissioner Joseph Kipkorir said that for far too long parents and guardians have been the ones frustrating the fight against the vices.
He gave a recent incident where security officers hurriedly moved to arrest a culprit who had married off an underage girl, only for the girl and her parents to gang up and try to resist arrest.
“Upon interrogation, we discovered that the girl had an Identification card, this is even though she looked extremely young. This means that her parents helped her get one so they could marry her off early. She also disclosed that she had undergone FGM,” he said.
Tana River Deputy Governor Mahad Loka said that FGM and early marriage will be difficult to contain as long as parents and guardians are still encouraging the practices.
Loka while acknowledging that some progress had been made in tackling the vice emphasized the need to bring everyone on board if the fight is to be completely won.
“It is unfortunate that we still have individuals who are still holding on to these retrogressive cultural practices. They have completely refused to embrace change and move with time,” he said.
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Loka who also represented Governor Dhadho Godhana during the event, stated that the county has put in place all measures and will liaise with partner agencies to ensure that girls are protected, and have access to basic needs to enable them to acquire education in a friendly environment.
Diana Kamande a director at the Anti-FGM Board said that the Kenya Kwanza Government has prioritized the elimination of FGM in Kenya in its Plan under the Women Agenda point four.
Tana River and Garissa counties are among the 22 counties with the highest prevalence of FGM.