By Isabella Maua
Kenya Red Cross Bungoma with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland have commenced a campaign of changing people’s attitudes towards backward cultural beliefs and practises as the best pathway to winning the anti-GBV and FGM campaign in Mt. Elgon region.
This was amicably deliberated upon by village elders and a section of the Council of Elders from the entire ethnic Sabaot community during a roundtable discussion with the Kenya Red Cross at Kapsokwony on Friday.
The marginalised Sabaots who vastly inhabit Mt. Elgon have long been known for their infamous female genital mutilation practise, forced early marriages, and male chauvinism.
While addressing the village elders, Evans Nyakundi, Deputy OCPD Kimilili, impugned them to be ambassadors of not only peace but also civic education to wananchi regarding cultural benightedness.
“Tell the men in the villages that gone are the days women were enslaved and tortured physically and psychologically culturally; let’s help our daughters, sisters, and mothers and save them from uncalled for agony,” advised Nyakundi.
Most of the rape and defilement cases have also been reported to occur while young girls are going to the posho mills and rivers to fetch water or forests for firewood late in the evening.
Alcoholism among parents has also been a thorn in the flesh for the village elders in their quest to fight domestic violence in many homes across the region.
“Not only are youths wasting their vital lives on alcohol, but also family men are losing themselves to liquor; this poses danger to growing children who look up to them as role models,” cited an elder from Kamuneru.
“This has also brought about intimate partner violence since many young mothers have been complaining of lacking conjugal rights from their overindulgent husbands, who definitely also don’t provide for the family as expected,” reported one of the women elders from Kongit.
Sosi Chemosit, representative of the Sabaot Council of Elders, blamed irresponsible drinking for the growing number of overly unhealthy sexual behaviours amongst young children.
“When drunk parents reach home and explicitly display sexual behaviour in front of innocent children, they’re bound to also experiment and no doubt find themselves in sexual entanglements within a period of time,” bewailed Chemosit.
Ann Bucheche, a board member at the The Red Cross and anti-GBV and FGM champion, on the other hand, appealed to parents to instill respect in their children at a tender age and monitor them whenever they use cell phones.
“Lack of respect has in a great way affected our current generation, and if we don’t step up as parents, we’re bound to be the greatest losers when our children lose direction completely,” implored Bucheche.