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Why this doctor wants girls allowed to undergo female cut

A medical doctor has filed a case in Machakos High Court seeking to have Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) legalised.

Dr Tatu Kamau filed the case before Justice David Kemei on Wednesday.

She also wants the Anti-FGM Board, which has been spearheading the campaign against the practice, abolished.

Speaking to journalists after filing the case, Dr Kamau said outlawing of female circumcision was against the culture of many African communities and should be reviewed.

Anti-FGM Board Chief Executive Officer Benadette Loloji. PHOTO | STEPHEN MUTHINI
Anti-FGM Board Chief Executive Officer Bernadette Loloju. PHOTO | STEPHEN MUTHINI

Anti-FGM Board Chief Executive Officer Bernadette Loloju, however, said they were against the practice because of the negative effects it has had on women with regards to reproduction issues.

Ms Loloju said the campaign has been successful, having recorded an improvement from 37 per cent in 2008 to 21 per cent in the most recent Kenya Demographic Survey.


In her case, Dr Kamau argues that all female especially adults should be allowed to exercise their choices without being restricted by legislation.

The doctor, who is not represented by a lawyer, added that the term FGM was a ‘misnomer’ as people who had coined the term were now practicing the same in the name of female genital surgery.

“It is a label given to us by those who do not understand it. The same people are now doing it in their own country, “said Dr Kamau.

She said female circumcision was part of African cultural practices before the advent of colonialism and should not be curtailed, adding that the constitution gives that right.

Her argument is that many women have been harassed by the state and even jailed because of the practice, which should not be the case since adults are allowed to exercise their choices.

“Much as we want to protect the girl-child, there are many women who have been harassed and jailed in the last three years. Once you reach adulthood there is no reason why you should not make that decision, “she said.


She says the legalising female circumcision will make it easy for those who want to undergo it to seek the best medical services available to them thus making the procedure safe.

“Female circumcision is practiced differently from one community to another but it can be made safe. It is a minor surgical procedure that does not require anesthesia or being put into a theatre, “explained Dr Kamau.

She took issue with Parliament for passing legislation on a cultural issue, saying the lawmakers had overstretched their mandate.

“If parliament can try to abolish a culture, tomorrow it will abolish religion or something else. The Anti – FGM act is a bad precedence of trying to micro-manage our culture,” she observed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story had the picture of anti-FGM Board Chief Executive Officer Benadette Loloji wrongly captioned as Dr Tatu Kamau. The error, which has since been corrected, is highly regretted.