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Elders give nod to abolition of FGM

KNA   The fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Marsabit County appear to gain momentum with elders and religious leaders declaring their support for the initiative.

Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Gender and Public Service Rachel Shebesh also directed the county commissioner Paul Rotich to take lead and ensure national government administration officers played their role as expected in the fight against FGM.  

 Shebesh who was the chief guest during the International Day of the Girl Child celebrations held at Sololo primary school commended Borana council of elders for the commitment in the war against the vice, adding that both levels of government had no excuse for not winning the fight.

Both religious and cultural leaders expressed their support to end the outlawed practice, with the CAS saying that the great influence that they hold over issues concerning the community would be used to influence the desired need of abandoning the vice.

 Shebesh appealed to the stakeholders to ensure the vice is eradicated to accord the girl child an enabling environment to grow.

The elders took centre stage during the event where they presented a list with a raft of measures aimed at not only safeguarding the rights of those targeted, but also contributes to the President’s directive that the vice be done away with by 2022.

She pointed out that FGM was intertwined with early marriage and teenage pregnancies, which are not only demeaning but a violation of women rights.

 Shebesh urged the local administration to assist the elders and other players like AMREF who are engaged in the fight against vices being meted against women and the girl child by enforcing the law as required.

“I am cautioning you that it is your principal duty to ensure that no FGM is carried out in your areas of jurisdiction or else face disciplinary action,” the CAS warned chiefs. 

According to the chairperson of the Borana Council of Elders Philip Galmah, religious and cultural leaders had agreed to unite in ending the practice as demanded by the president.

A declaration made in keeping with the Borana community’s 41st Gumi Gayo (Community elders) Assembly held in Ethiopia last month outlawed FGM, rape, incest, teen pregnancies and also emphasized on equal treatment of the boy and girl children.

 Marsabit County governor’s wife Alamitu Jattani applauded the move by the council of elders which she described as bold saying it would help in bringing the harmful practice to an end.

Through her Mama Guyo Foundation, the county governor’s spouse pledged more awareness campaigns against FGM and urged for a multi-sectoral approach in the fight against the harmful but entrenched practice.

MS Jattani said that a rescue centre that would offer refuge to victims of gender based violence that include FGM and early marriages was being constructed by the county government at Loglogo in Laisamis Constituency.

She appealed to the national government to consider funding the establishment of such a facility in Moyale Constituency to cater for victims in the upper part of the county.

“I am optimistic that we are going to end FGM in this region by 2022 now that we have the backing of the elders who shape the opinions on virtually all socio-cultural matters,” she said, while asking the anti-FGM Board to do universal campaigns so that no community is left behind.

On her part, the Anti-FGM Board chairperson Agnes Pareyio, expressed satisfaction that progressive steps and which were yielding fruits had been made in the fight against the practice.

 Pareyio said that the practice was still common in 22 counties across the country but more widespread in Marsabit and urged local communities to shun the retrogressive practice as it has no benefits to women and girls.

The function was also attended by Marsabit County government secretary Eng. Joseph Guyo.

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