January 2019; Narok Commissioner George Natembea has been the talk of town after issuing a directive that all girls in Narok shall undergo tests to ascertain if they underwent FGM during the December holidays. Surprisingly, he has received enough bashing from Narok-based “Anti FGM activists”, NGOs, medics, KNUT, lawyers, and the list is endless. Apparently, everyone is basing the argument of violation of the right to privacy and human dignity. So much emphasis is on the psychological damage this directive will have to the girls.
I however find the argument by those opposed to the Natembea directive as too naïve. In fact, am not ashamed that those opposing Natembea don’t want to end FGM. This is because FGM is a cash-cow to many NGOs. These so called human rights activists are not genuine in bashing of Natembea. For so long many of us have wished that the national government through the ministry of interior security and coordination take firm action against perpetrators of FGM, child marriage and teenage pregnancies. It’s absurd to read and hear so called activists shouting on top their vices “Natembea leave our girls alone, focus on Mau conservation”.
I want to categorically term those opposing Natembea as pro-FGM activists. They feel threatened. Many of them have projected that they intend to finish FGM in their respective areas in 2030. The directive by Natembea, if fully backed will end the vice in 2020. I speak from the point of knowledge, that this directive has sent so many shockwaves among those who forced their girls to undergo FGM. They are so worried that some have fled Narok for fear of arrest. So did Natembea intend to be populist on FGM issue like some NGOs and CBOs do? No. his intention is to end the vice.
I wish to simply ask, when a girl is defiled, she is taken to hospital, checked by a qualified medical practitioner and a report is given as evidence in the courts. No one ever raises concerns on the psychological damage, nor the right to privacy of these victims. Our mothers do deliver in hospitals, and no one ever raises the concerns of right to privacy. A Swahili saying goes,” mficha uchi hazai”. And if we want to end FGM in Kenya, we should all support Natembea and challenge our respective county commissioners to take up the lead, or better still have a national directive on how to check girls who have undergone FGM in Kenya.
The writer is a Kenyan activist.
(I choose to remain Unanimous)
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