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Two women jailed for 3 years after pleading guilty to circumcising each other

A Marimanti court in Tharaka-Nithi County on Friday sentenced to three years imprisonment, two women from Ntongoni village in Tharaka constituency who pleaded guilty to circumcising each other.

Ms Winjoy Wanja, 27, a mother of three, and Julia Ngugi, 25, a mother of two, who are married to two brothers, told the court that they decided to cut each other using a razor blade to protect their children from a lineage curse that was threatening their lives.

They said an ancestor in their marital home had pronounced a curse before she died dictating that all women married into the family must be circumcised or else their children would die.

The two said the spirit of their husbands’ great grandmother had been haunting them every night by visiting them in dreams asking them to choose between getting circumcised or losing all their children.

“We decided to circumcise each other to avoid the death of our children due to a family curse,” Ms Wanja said.

However, when issuing the judgment, Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Maina said probation officers visited the village and established the women were lying that there was a family lineage curse.

FAMILY CURSE

Last year, a woman from Kamwimbi village in Igambang’ombe was jailed for six years by a Chuka court after she was found guilty of forcing her 12-year-old twin daughters to undergo the ‘cut’ arguing that she was also avoiding a family curse.

In September this year, a Githongo court in Meru County sentenced to three years imprisonment or pay a fine of Sh200,000 five women who pleaded guilty to undergoing FGM and sought for forgiveness.

The FGM practice mostly takes place during long holiday season where school girls aged between 10 to 17 years either demand the ‘cut’ or are forced by their parents, especially mothers.

Ms Venonica Nyaga, founder and director of St Peters Lifeline, a community based organization in Igambang’ombe Sub County in Tharaka-Nithi County told the Nairobi News that mothers and grandmothers are the key perpetrators of the illegal practice.

Uncircumcised women in the community are discriminated and dismissed as dirty and clueless forcing them to undergo the ‘cut’.

“Uncircumcised women are insulted by their mother in-laws and other women in the village compelling them to submit to their demands,” said Mr Nyaga.

However, Ms Nyaga says though government should continue implementing the law banning FGM, there was need for increased public awareness because in some areas people do not know the dangers of the ‘cut’.