Chiefs in West Pokot Coonty have been put on notice over escalating cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) and they risk losing their jobs if they fail to contain the rising cases.
During an anti-FGM meeting that brought together the Public Service and Gender CAS Rachael Shebesh, County commissioner Apollo Okello and chiefs, it was revealed that most of the FGM cases recorded in West Pokot County happen under the watch of the administration officers and the County commissioner reiterated that chiefs will be sacked if any girl is cut in their respective locations.
Okello added that curbing FGM cases deserves combined efforts from all leaders and chiefs should take a tough stand to prevent the cases.
He said some of the administrators have participated in the retrogressive practice which puts them in an awkward state in fighting the vice.
“Some chiefs from the County have been subjecting their own girls to the cut. Already a chief has been sacked after cutting his two daughters. The government won’t tolerate such government officials who are after spoiling the lives of the young generation,” he said.
He warned the administration officers that the government will not negotiate with them if they are caught fronting their girls or rather if they continue being silent as the practice goes on.
He said the government is committed to eliminating FGM and will support chiefs to access remote areas and arrest the perpetrators.
CAS public service and gender Rachel Shebesh said the anti-FGM act stipulates clearly the role of chiefs in fighting FGM and if they remain reluctant the law will catch up with them.
“If you fail to arrest the perpetrators then either you are part of the problem or you are supporting FGM. Unless you are reporting or rescuing girls you are not safe,” she said.
She added that West Pokot County is among the Counties with the highest number of FGM cases and asked political leaders to come on board and help fight the practice. “Some politicians don’t want to talk about FGM because they fear they might lose their votes,” she said.
West Pokot County woman representative Lilian TomiTom noted that elected leaders have been sidelined when different organizations are doing campaigns against FGM hence asked non governmental organizations to incorporate them.
“Wananchi trust their elected leaders. If all politicians could stand and say no to FGM then we will win the fight,” she said.
The leaders were speaking in West Pokot County after touring the child protection unit and later held a meeting at Nasokol secondary school which brought together stakeholders in the anti-FGM fight.