KAJIADO, Kenya, May 22 – First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has called on all Kenyan communities to bring an end to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
She condemned the practice and said that it should not have any place in any community during the 21st century.
“As a country we must aspire to achieve a zero FGM status where every girl can go to school, find and fulfill her destiny, enjoy her rights and contribute to nation building,” she said.
The First Lady, who spoke at Ngurumani, Kajiado County where she presided over an alternative rite of passage for 278 girls, said Kenyan communities have a rich and beautiful culture but there are some retrogressive aspects.
“Culture is dynamic. Let us retain the good parts but discard the retrogressive parts,” she said.
Kajiado Governor David ole Nkedianye said education is the key to eradicating all negative traditional practices.
“If we educate our girls this practice will disappear,” as he encouraged more parents to endorse the alternative rite.
The Chairperson of Government’s Anti-FGM Commission Jebii Kilimo said female circumcision is illegal under the law.
“It is illegal to make a girl go through FGM and chiefs should read the Act and educate the public,” she said.
The Country Director of Amref Lenny Kyomuhangi said they have been supporting such projects since 2009.
“More than 3,000 girls have passed through this kind of rite which we have been supporting since 2009,” said Dr Kyomuhangi.
She said alternative rites of passage also support better maternal health because women would be free from diseases or complication associated with the female cut.
The traditional ceremony is being adopted by sections of the Maasai community to replace the female genital cut practiced by majority of the pastoralist communities.
Leaders from Narok, Samburu and Laikipia counties were also represented and they expressed intention to introduce the alternative rite of passage in their areas.
The First Lady said other communities should be encouraged to adopt the alternative rites to phase out the cut.