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KBC News - September 16, 2011

First Lady Mama Lucy Kibaki has called on law enforcers to ensure that the law on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is strictly enforced once it becomes fully operational.

In a statement issued from State House Nairobi Wednesday, the First Lady said the prohibition of FGM will have a positive impact on the development of girls and women.

"Girls in communities where FGM is common now have no cause for worry and can be able to concentrate on their education," the First Lady said.

Mrs. Kibaki thanked the tenth Parliament for passing the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill 2010, saying the passage of the Bill early this month was a welcome development.

Said the First Lady: "I am glad to note that the Bill provides for punitive penalties including a jail term of seven years or a fine of 500,000 Kenya Shillings for anyone convicted of FGM offence.  Moreover, anyone who causes death in the process of carrying out FGM will be liable to life imprisonment. These punitive penalties are deterrent enough if effectively enforced."

She, however, cautioned that with the law now in place, the next challenge is to ensure that this law is effectively enforced across the country.

The First Lady observed that while the legislation prohibiting FGM is important, it is only a first step in the war against the retrogressive practice as legal bans alone cannot change customs and traditions.

In this regard, Mrs. Kibaki expressed the need for the relevant Government agencies to step up measures to raise awareness on both the law and the dangers posed to women by this practice.

She emphasized that widespread information on the dangers of FGM will generate the necessary awareness to enable communities to fully abandon FGM.

Noting that the prohibition of FGM may simply drive the practice underground where it will be performed secretly on young girls, the First Lady urged law enforcers and Kenyans in general to remain vigilant in order to ensure the war on FGM is successful.

Outlining the serious health challenges that FGM pose to women, Mrs. Kibaki the practice can result in infection and severe bleeding which can result in death.

She said at the long-term level, FGM also leads to sexual malfunction as well as severe difficulties during childbirth.

"Indeed, FGM is partly responsible for the high maternal and infant mortality rates, which are very common among communities where FGM is widely practiced," the First Lady said.

The First Lady said it has been established that FGM operations have resulted in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Mrs. Kibaki added that FGM also causes serious psychological problems of anxiety and depression to most women after undergoing the operation.

"Perhaps even more worrying, Moreover, for those girls who escape death or terminal physical damage, FGM operation severely limits their intellectual and social development," Mrs. Kibaki said.

She said FGM interferes with the education of girls as the health problems associated with the operation leads to frequent absenteeism from school and poor attentiveness, adding that the cumulative effect is poor performance in school and eventual dropping out of school.

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[ Africa ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ] [ Kenya ] [ Stop FGM! ]

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[ Africa ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ] [ Kenya ] [ Stop FGM! ]

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[ Africa ] [ Diritti Umani, Civili  & Politici ] [ Kenya ] [ Stop FGM! ]

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