By Tobby Otum
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is key to empowering the girl child in Kenya to participate fully in national development.
“If we want to achieve our national goals, we have to change and offer our girls opportunities in education to excel.
“If you look around the world, women are holding high positions and we don’t want to be left behind because of retrogressive cultural activities,” the President said.
The Head of State spoke Friday at Kisima in Samburu County where he witnessed the signing of a declaration by elders to end FGM and child marriages.
President Kenyatta, who was in the County on a one-day working tour, challenged communities practising FGM to discard the retrogressive cultural practice by finding alternative rites of passage.
“I know it is possible for our girls to go through alternative rites of passage without suffering,” President Kenyatta said.
While highlighting the benefits of educating girls, the President advised the Samburu community to give their boys and girls an equal opportunity to attend school.
On BBI, the Head of State thanked Samburu MCA’s for passing the Bill and rallied residents to vote for the law reform process in the referendum.
“We want to continue building our nation and we have come to an understanding that the only way to develop is to increase funding to the Counties.
“This will ensure that wananchi won’t have to wait for the national Government to approve the kind of projects they need,” he said.
The President also spoke about insecurity in Samburu and neighboring Counties saying bandits and cattle rustlers in Baragoi and other hotspots who won’t cooperate with State agencies during a planned disarmament exercise will face the full force of the law.
Earlier while addressing 500 students and staff of Kisima Girls Secondary, shortly after attending a Samburu leaders meeting in the school, the President said girls need support from all Kenyans for them to access opportunities that will enable them to prosper.
“We have come together with all these leaders to start a process that will ensure all girls in Kenya are able to have the same and equal opportunities as their male counterparts,” the President said.
He said the Government was fully committed to ending FGM so as to enable Kenyan girls to lead meaningful lives.
“What we are starting today is a program that will empower young girls throughout the country to be able to live their lives to the fullest, to be able to have the opportunity of going to school, completing their education and preparing themselves for meaningful jobs,” the President said.
The President’s busy schedule saw him inspect several Government projects in Samburu County among them the 65 kilometer Posta-Kisima-Maralal Road and the multipurpose Yamo Dam.
Speaking in Maralal town where he stopped to acknowledge greetings from residents, the Head of State announced Government plans to relocate the military camp from the town so as to free up land for its expansion.
The Head of State was accompanied on the day-long working tour by Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal, his Marsabit counterpart Mohamud Mohamed as well as Cabinet Secretaries Prof Margaret Kobia (Gender), Charles Keter (Energy) and Keriako Tobiko (Environment).
Also present were the Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua, State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita and Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya among other senior Government officials.