NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3 – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has established and deployed a specialised Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Unit (FGM) to the counties that is charged with prosecution and sensitisation of communities on legislation that prohibits the practice.
DPP Keriako Tobiko said the unit is one of the immediate strategies to combat the dramatic rise of the incidents at the county level.
According to a police report, a total of 71 cases were prosecuted in court between 2011 and 2014.
Out of these cases 33 are still pending judgement; while there have been 16 convictions, 18 acquittals and four withdrawals.
“We had sought the support of the National Police Service in FGM related statistics to better strategise on FGM prosecution while also understanding challenges faced by the police in the investigative and prosecution process for all FGM cases,” said Tobiko.
The DPP added that Narok, West Pokot, Meru, Embu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kisii, Migori, Marsabit and Kiambu were the most affected by the vice.
In a statement to newsrooms, Tobiko said the report further revealed the reasons given for non-reporting of the crime.
“Cultural beliefs and attitudes, fear of intimidation and lack of information on the dangers of FGM are some of the key challenges that undermine the reporting by the victims and communities where it takes place,” he added.
The deployment comes at a time when the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is embarking on a recruitment drive following its de-linking from the State Law Office.
Currently the office has 169 prosecution counsels, a deficit of 453 from its required number of 927 across the country. READ Tobiko seeks to recruit 415 extra staff
On Tuesday, the government reaffirmed commitment to gender issues after it appointed the Permanent Representative to the United Nations Macharia Kamau to co-chair the team developing sustainable development goals, post 2015.
Speaking at a meeting with British envoy Christian Turner, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru said that the country’s development agenda is based on gender issues.
Waiguru added that Kenya would support stand-alone gender equality and women’s empowerment goals in the post 2015 framework and mainstreaming of gender issues in all other goals.
Applauding this effort, the envoy pledged to support programs on ending early childhood marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and promised to work closely with gender directorate and newly formed anti-FGM board.
In line with this, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron will in July host a summit aimed at ending early childhood marriage and galvanizing efforts to end FGM.