Bureti constituency has emerged as the last location in Kericho County where Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still being practiced secretly, with married women undergoing the cut.
Kericho County Commissioner John Karungo noted that FGM practitioners in Belgut, Soin/Sigowet, Kipkelion East, Kipkelion West, and Ainamoi, had felt the heat and initiates were now being taken to remote areas of Bureti to undergo the cut.
The remote Kaptele village in Bureti constituency hit the news last year after 25 women underwent FGM, leading to the arrest and subsequent prosecution of an elderly circumciser.
“Bureti Constituency is turning out to be the referral area of FGM practice. I wonder what a married woman – with even grown children - still wants to achieve by undergoing FGM,” he said.
During the Jamhuri Day celebrations in Sosiot stadium in Bureti, the County Commissioner ordered the chiefs especially those from Bureti to look for people who still practice FGM.
“If you get to know of a place where FGM taking place, call me and I will arrest the circumcised together with the initiates. Curses surrounding the exposure of the practice don't scare me,” he said.
Governor Erick Mutai, Kericho Women Representative Beatrice Kemei, Deputy Governor Fred Kirui, and Kericho Police Commander Anthony Ngare were among the leaders who attended the function.
Elijah Kirui, from Kapsugot location, blamed the Kipsigis culture whereby only circumcised women are allowed to cook and cater for their sons after the young men have been circumcised.
“With the customs dictating that only circumcised women can cook and cater for the initiates, it forces uncircumcised women to undergo the cut,” he said.
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Evelyn Cheruiyot from Kasogut village accused circumcised married women of being behind the surge of uncircumcised women going for the cut.
“The circumcised women look at the uncircumcised with a lot of contempt. They cannot even allow them to address local chama meetings,” she said.
"Men whose wives are also uncircumcised are also ridiculed and looked at with contempt."