Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Friday, March 12, 2004

Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya

200 practitioners of female genital mutilation in Kenya's Rift Valley province have abandoned the practice and decided to fight the deeply rooted custom. The recent development was the fruit of years of struggle by Kenyan NGOs against entrenched traditional attitudes in communities. Although FGM is outlawed in Kenya the act is unclear on the punishment offenders are to receive, leaving it to the discretion of local magistrates, who issue only light sentences to those found guilty of carrying it out. Feminists have criticized FGM as a practice rooted in discrimination against women and one that violates the basic rights of children. FGM is also responsible for various reproductive health problems among women.