Different approach in the fight against FGM needed, says MP

Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Government should take a different approach in fighting FGM, forcing people will not make communities abandon the practice, Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama says.

The legislator alleges that the government has been taking the wrong approach in an attempt to end the retrogressive practice.

He noted that the sure way of ending FGM was through education. "If you encourage education it will die off on its own. Using force to end FGM is like a man who beats his wife to tame her or a child being beaten over bad behaviour.”

According to Mr Kitayama, doing affirmative action for communities which are practising FGM and educating girls and later providing them with job opportunities will give younger girls the urge to get educated.

He told NGOs to instead use the funds they are spending in the fight against FGM to build good schools and provide them with jobs once they were through with their education.

"This is a soft way of ensuring that girls make a firm decision not to get cut but rather focus on getting an education. Forcing and whipping communities to end FGM in the present day is ineffective.”

The four Kuria clans of Bwirege, Nyabasi, Bugumbe and Bakira started circumcision despite arrests and police raids to thwart FGM as most girls have been forced to flee from their homes to avoid being cut.

Moreover, the FGM is being conducted despite community elders and a section of members being engaged by both the government and non-governmental organizations.

Migori county commissioner Meru Mwangi who spoke with the Standard on phone asked politicians to exercise their goodwill in the fight against FGM and avoid the fear of losing votes.

Mwangi gave a stern warning to FGM perpetrators and elders whom he said were blessing the vice despite efforts to engage them.

However, it is a reprieve for over 500 girls’ who escaped the vice in the Kuria community.

On Thursday James Mukundi, who works with one of the NGOs in the region says that they have started safe places in all the Police stations in Isebania, Kegonga, Kehancha, and Ntimaru.

“We are distributing beds, mattresses, sanitary and food to the safe places in police stations to ensure police stations have comfortable holding cells for girls fleeing the cut or in custody,” said Mukundi.

“We started with offering bedding, toiletries, and warm clothes. We undertook the first donation after realizing young girls who sought reprieve in police stations or those being held as part of the judicial system lacked a place to stay.”

This comes as activists in Migori county have called for the building of rescue centres among the

Vincent Mwita, the Tunaweza Empowerment officer said more than 600 young girls had fled their homes to avoid undergoing the ‘cut’.

“We thank the police for increased patrols, elders, boda boda operators and activists for sharing intelligence especially along the Kenya-Tanzania border at Mutiniti region in Ntimaru and Kebeyo area in Gokeharaka,” he said.

Related Topics

FGM GBV Gender
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