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Dear Doctor Tatu Kamau, give Reasons why you want Female Genital MutilationLegalized

By Alexander Opicho
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Doctor Tatu Kamau, has fileda well-supported case in the high Court asking the court to lift the ban on FGM, also known as circumcision of women in Kenya. Doctor Tatu who has practiced clinical medicine in Kenya for twenty-six years has a specialization in genecology, public health and reproductive health, she holds a first degree from Andhra university, India and a master’s degree from the university of Nairobi. Tatu has instituted a proceeding on the constitutional basis asking the high court to make a precedential ruling that will invalidate an anti-FGM lawmade in 2011 by the Nairobi Parliament.Dr. Tatu has not given medical nor clinical reasons in support of legalization of FGM, but she has only faulted the anti-FGM law in Kenya as un-constitutional and socially un-realistic. She faults the anti-FGM statute to be unconstitutional in the sense that it goes against freedom to enjoy personal conscience as provided for in the Bill of rights in chapter five of the Kenya Constitution. Dr. Tatu faults the anti-FGM law to be against the constitution by basing on the prevailing conditions that most of the girls and women in Kenya willfully and voluntarily participate in FGM rituals.

The 2011 anti-FGM Act of parliament, being faulted by Dr. Tatu,provides that, any person carrying out FGM or supporting FGM will be punished by life imprisonment, the same type of punishment applies to the man or woman who ridicules, divorces or supports the divorcing of an un-circumcised woman. The minimum punishment provided by the Act is three years in prison, or a court fine of 200,000 shillings.

However, this heavy punishment by the law has not made the tradition of female circumcision to die. The practice is still substantially practiced in Kenya, it is carried out secretly but with most of girls voluntarily choosing to participate in the traditional rituals and initiations of FGM. The current report on the state of FGM in Kenya shows that most of the women and girls voluntarily participate in FGM and now most of the parents have chosen to circumcise their girls as early as at the age of 5 in order to avert government interventions and negative attitudes towards FGM that can be developed in a girl through contact with schooling and the media if the girl is left to grow beyond the age of five. Inferences from the 2017 report on the state of FGM in Kenya is thus, there is rampart but clandestine practice of female circumcision in Kenya to an extent that 11 counties of Kenya each have over 80% of women population that voluntarily chose to be circumcised.

In a comparison, Google search results on the geographical distribution of Female Genital Mutilation in Africa shows that out of 54 countries of Africa, 30 of them observe the cult and rituals of traditional female circumcision. World health organization (WHO) has a similar estimation about FGM in Africa and Arab world.Probably, this may not be true statistics given that female circumcision is mostly done in secrete and hence getting full facts about it in time is not possible. The actual condition can that may be Africa has higher number of women participating in the FGM rituals than currently shown by health and human rights organizations.

They are such statistical conditions that have made Dr. Tatu to call for legalization of female circumcision in Kenya, she has supported her arguments by adducing that female circumcision can be safely done traditionally through proper training, that female circumcision can as well be done at the hospital, that it is a constitutional right of a woman to choose what to be done to her body and hence by extension enjoy the traditional dignity and self-esteem derived from FGM , and that FGM helps women to counter patriarchy and male chauvinism, the two social vices that often emanate from toxic masculinity inherent in the behavior of circumcised men. Dr. Tatu also points out that it is only blind submission to the western pressure and Christianity making the governments in Kenya to ban FGM, that the governments are banning FGM without taking time to appreciate cultural heritages of the Kenyan communities.

It is true, such arguments make a lot of sense if one examines rural life in Kenya. But an otherwise is also rife. Dr. Tatu has not given clinical, medical or health reasons for FGM, she is only politicizing the ban of FGM by taking advantage of the loopholes and lacunae inherent in the constitutional law of Kenya. Dr. Tatu has not answered this question, what value does FGM adds to life of a woman? Personally, I support male circumcision, whether done as a traditional ritual or as minor surgical operation in a modern hospital. My reasons for male circumcision is that it improves hygiene of a man, it is biblical, it is qur’anic, it reduces chances of getting infected by HIV and Aids virus, and also it boosts the coital efficiency. I too support male circumcision with reservations; it should not be the basis of prejudice and bigotry, cultures that do observe male circumcision must respect the cultures that don’t observe and vice versa

Dr. Tatu is frustrated by the condition that very many communities are voluntarily observing female circumcision and hence it must be legalized. No, good social thinking cannot permit such indignant cultural practices. Female circumcision can be sporadic, secretly venerated and cherished as it is and widely distributed the way it is in Africa, but the fact is that it is repugnant, Practice of repugnant culture cannot be allowed to be a constitutionally recognized human right.It is agreeable that there is native and traditional dignity in being a circumcised woman, but it is overtly repugnant to an extent that it is a practice cannot be constitutionalized to be a human privilege nor freedom, and also it has to be appreciated that any conscience in support of female circumcision is a bad conscience. Such a conscience can be equated to the thoughts and feelings that supported slavery, killing of a girl child, throwing of the twins in the evil forests, harvesting of human organs from people living with albinism, theatre of gladiators, human sacrifices, child-soldiers and apartheid. It is true such feelings and thoughts have been perpetrated in history and even in our current times, in fact perpetrated to a large scale, but they never became acceptable cultures to be protected by the humanly conscious law. They are among the social vices modern humanity has to fight. We must fight FGM.