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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Kenyan men reject 'mutilated' women
By Abraham Odeke
BBC, eastern Uganda

A new generation of men from western Kenya, where female genital mutilation is widely practised, say they are abandoning their "mutilated" wives and girlfriends for sexual partners across the border in Ugandan.

Man with Ugandan sex-worker
Ugandan sex-workers are doing thriving business with Kenyan men
They say the practice of genital mutilation is outdated and those who practice the procedure should bury the knives that deform women.

The Kenyan men defend their decision to love and marry women from Uganda, where the practice of female genital mutilation is uncommon.

"It's a primitive and shameful thing which we have now vowed to fight as a new generation," said Joseph, from the Kalenjin ethnic group.

"Our continued coming to the Ugandan side of the border to sleep with these Ugandan women should serve as a big warning to our parents and the clan leaders. We are not ready to marry our own girls whose sex organs have been tampered with by the primitive genital surgeons in the villages," he said.

Aids test

The commercial sex-workers say that some of them had accepted generous offers of house rent, bank accounts, television sets and medical care from the Kenyan men flirting with them.

"My newly found fiance from Kenya is actually a properly married man back home," said Agnes, a sex-worker in Busia.

Unless these clan leaders stop circumcising our girls, all the boys in our tribe will be forced to marry from other tribes that respect the rights of the women to have their bodies intact
"He is convincing me to abandon this commercial sex business so I can cohabit with him as his special junior wife with a house of my own in the [Kenyan] town of Eldoret, and I have no objection to this offer," she said.

The risk of HIV/Aids does not seem to stop the Kenyan men frequenting Malaba and Busia.

"We would rather contract the HIV/Aids from the women in Malaba and die comfortably from it than be confined to the boredom of cohabiting with Kenyan women with deficient genital composition," said Joseph.

But Kiprono, who met his fiancee in a hotel in Malaba, said the couple had both accepted the idea of voluntary HIV/Aids counselling and testing. They had tested negative to the virus.

Their wedding ceremony was boycotted by the majority of the elder Kenyan clan leaders.

Kiprono said he was a living example of a new generation of youth who are openly protesting against female genital mutilation.

"I am quite happy that several of my friends have also decided to annoy our clan leaders by opting to marry from the tribes which do not practice female genital mutilation, he said.

"Unless these clan leaders stop circumcising our girls, all the boys in our tribe will be forced to marry from other tribes that respect the rights of the women to have their bodies intact."

Senegal villages reject FGM
23 Sep 03 |  Africa
Kenyan girls flee mutilation
07 Feb 03 |  Africa
Reversing female circumcision
08 Feb 03 |  Health

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