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Gikuyu Supreme Council of Elders oppose bill on abortion

By Moses Njagih | July 9th 2020

Gikuyu Elders from Kimani Wa Kabui (left), Boro wa Ngera, Warorua wa Kimani and Njathi wa Mbatia say a traditional prayer before they addressed the media to affirm their unwavering support for President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposed the family abortion bill before Senate at the Bowling Green. [ Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The Gikuyu Council of Elders has opposed a bill that seeks to ease access to abortion, urging the legislators from the community and others of goodwill to champion the shooting down of the proposed law currently before the Senate.

The Supreme Council of the Gikuyu Cultural Association, referred as Athamaki said the Bill was not only against the religious teachings but was also in contravention of the cultural teachings that rebuke abortion.

The elders said Kenya’s legislators must guard the society against introduction of alien practices, especially those that go against both the religious and cultural beliefs, as they said was the case with the Reproductive Healthcare Bill, sponsored by nominated Senator Agnes Zani.

“The Gikuyu traditions never allowed such practices like abortion, never. This to the Gikuyu community is an outcast as it is killing, and we do not advocate for killing. Religious teachings across the board also are against this, so we are asking, especially legislators from our community, and those supporting our position, to reject this Bill and ensure it does not pass,” said elder Waruru wa Kimani.

The Athamaki said allowing the Bill to pass will facilitate easy access to abortion, which has remained a contentious issue, and which was also rejected through the enacting of Constitution 2010.

“We do not want to have a society where we allow immoral practices to thrive, just because it would be easy to procure an abortion in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. The Gikuyu customs have never allowed this, we will not allow it now.”

The Bill has come under heavy criticism, especially part five of the proposed law entitled Termination of Pregnancy, which states “A pregnancy may be terminated by a trained health professional wherein the person’s opinion there is need for emergency treatment, the pregnancy would endanger the life or health of the mother or there is a substantial risk that the foetus would suffer from a severe physical or mental abnormality that is incompatible with the life outside the womb”.

Religious organisations have also voiced their opposition to the proposed law, led by Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and the Supreme Council of Muslims leaders (Supkem). 

Catholic bishops have equally rallied their MPs to reject the Bill saying it goes against the doctrines of the church The Chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, Philip Anyolo, has written to all Catholic MPs urging them to shoot down the proposed law.

The Gikuyu elders also said they would be meeting with the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe to be furnished with regulations that they would require to undertake while taking young boys through circumcision during the current Corona pandemic.

“Normally, whenever we have a pandemic in the country we have always discouraged offering the rites of passage, but on consultations we have agreed that we be granted regulations that we may require to have the circumcision for our boys. We have secured an appointment with Kagwe and we hope we will be given the right regulations for this important cultural exercise,” said Muthamaki Kariuki wa Kabui.

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