Police in Isiola North have arrested a couple for reportedly subjecting their six-month-old daughter to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
According to the area police boss Collins Sainna, the mother of the baby is currently taking care of the child under close police supervision and will be arraigned alongside her husband in court once the child recovers.
“We are interrogating the father to know who carried out the cut and if there were accomplices so that we [can] arrest them and arraign them for the offence,” Sainna said.
The infant is hospitalised at Isiolo Referral Hospital.
She underwent FGM in Leparua, Isiolo County.
A health official at the hospital told the Nation that the child was taken there with a large wound but had since been stabilised.
Kenya’s Female Genital Mutilation Act, passed in 2011, states anyone found guilty of the practice could be sentenced to at least three years in jail or pay a fine of Ksh180, 000.
Ban on FGM
In March 2021, the Kenya High Court upheld a ban on FGM.
The court refused to allow female circumcision for consenting adults, saying, unlike the male cut it does not have health benefits and reduces the well-being of the woman it is performed on and in some cases can lead to death.
The ruling by three High Court justices against the petition filed by Tatu Kamau said evidence presented showed women in the communities that practise female circumcision – widely referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM) because of its adverse effects – do not have a choice.
“We are not persuaded that one can choose to undergo a harmful practice. From the medical and anecdotal evidence presented by the respondents, we find that limiting this right is reasonable in an open and democratic society based on the dignity of women,” Justices Lydia Achode, Kanyi Kimono, and Margaret Muigai said in their ruling.
Female circumcision can affect sexual intercourse and lead to problems with childbirth. In some cases, HIV is spread via the tools used, and excessive bleeding or badly done procedures can lead to death.
“Today is a great day for the women who live in these communities that practise female genital mutilation,” lawyer Ken Mbaabu, who is a board member of Samburu Girls Foundation, a group fighting the practice they say leads to early marriages stated.
The court ruling upholds the rights of women to make their own decisions about their bodies, he said.
While the argument of giving adults consent may seem logical, Mbaabu said, in the communities that perform the cut, a girl is considered an adult when she starts her menstrual cycle, from about 12 years.