While there has been a vigorous campaign against the retrogressive female genital mutilation in Tharaka by various organizations and activists, the practice does not seem to end soon in some places.
After a deep undercover investigations by scribes from the place, it was quite evident that the stay at home period brought about by Covid-19 pandemic offered the locals with a good chance to mobilize and have their young school girls undergo the cut.
In Kathangacini location in Tharaka North subcounty,our investigations revealed that a total of 22 young girls and 3 married women in Gatiriku,Karutunda,Ndia King’ang’i,Chigiria Ngiri and Nkurunga Cia Miando have recently under gone the cut, this being just a replica of what is happening unreported.
According to our sources who sought anonymity, the practice has been happening in watch of local administrators ranging from Chiefs, their assistants, and the respective area managers. The sources revealed that these administrators have been colluding with the parents involved and thus the outcry cannot go beyond the villages.
The 22 cases are distributed in the sub units of Kithima under the area manager Basilio Kinyua, Mpuku sub unit under Kiria kaibi, Karea Nkima under Muriungi Nkubiru, Gatorotwa sub unit under Muthike Makembo and Mancege sub unit under the area manager Kimani Mpaku.
The report we got indicated that the cut is done to school girls even those in lower classes as grade 2 to form 4 and now the practice has been of late directed to even married women with up to 4 children.
Stigmatization from who have undergone the cut earlier is the main factor that is contributing to the rampant and massive circumcision of the girls. A source told us how her daughter has been battling bullying from other girls in the neighborhood who have been intimidating her in an attempt to compel her face the cut.
“It is not once that my girl has been insulted by other girls in our locality being referred to as coward and other sort of bad names and upon reporting the matter to the chief, no action has ever been taken against the girls,’’ the source told us.
Our investigations further revealed that other victims especially the married women are forced to undergo the painful process against their will to avoid being evicted from their homes by their husbands and in fear that their families may end, they opt to face the cut.
It is a practice that Ms. Anicetta Kiriga the founder and coordinator Tharaka Women’ welfare program and who doubles as Maendeleo ya wanawake leader in Tharaka Nithi county has strongly condemned and called upon security agencies starting from the county commissioner M.s Beverly Opwora to move with speed and act before the situation goes out of control.
She said there is no way that FGM will cease in Tharaka before 2022 as per the presidential directive if at all the responsible administrators will not take the war against the retrogressive practice serious and also wondered why the practice was still operational despite vigorous campaigns.
“I am urging the county commissioner to make efforts and eradicate the issue of rampant FGM in Kathangacini since we do not have any authority to enforce any law apart from educating them. I also fail to understand while the practice is still evident in the area yet we have stayed here with Plan International for quite some time now educating the community on the dangers of the practice,’’ Ms. Anicetta said.
She was speaking at Gatunga Chief’s camp where she had brought an assortment of food stuff and personal effects to the girls her organization Tharaka Women Welfare program has sponsored. The organization has sponsored 133 students in secondary schools, 58 students in universities and colleges and 12 pupils in primary schools all who comes from needy families in different parts of Tharaka.
Anicetta urged the girls to tirelessly pursue their dreams through education and talents so that they will help their families live better lives by becoming useful people in the society.