How Kikuyu Group ‘Gwata Ndai’ Promotes FGM Despite Gov’t Efforts to Curb the Vice

FGM Kenya (Courtesy)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was banned in Kenya although some communities are secretly practising it.

The government in correlation with other partners outlawed the practice in 2011 and has put up several measures to necessitate the cracked down on those still subjecting women to the practice.

The practise seems to have expanded in different parts of Kikuyu going by a Facebook post by lawyer Wahome Thuku.

Thuku defines Gwata Ndai as a cultural, more of a cultic movement that has engulfed Central Kenya, drawing in men and some women. Apparently, there is a section of Kikuyus who are advocating for the return of the Gikuyu ways of life, including FGM.

“Mary called to tell me how she had become a victim of a husband -a fairly wealthy man – who had changed from a caring, loving man upon joining the Gwata Ndai movement,” Wahome wrote.

Read: 80 Year-old Arrested as Five Women Are Hospitalized After Undergoing FGM in Bomet

An anonymous woman (Let’s call her Mary) who got married in 2009 recounted her experience after her husband joined the cultic-like movement which apparently is very operational and even has a formed WhatsApp group.

Mary says she got married and had two children before things started taking a left turn. Together with her husband, they were staunch Christians and members of the PCEA Nairobi with both doing various jobs.

She says in 2017, she started noticing a change of character in her husband’s behavior like he had started coming home at 1 am or 2 pm and sometimes would stay away overnight.

The situation apparently became dire prompting Mary to question the husband. They failed to resolve their issues and separated for two weeks.

“When I was away, he broke into my shop in Nairobi CBD and destroyed all the merchandise, declaring that no woman in his house would work again or even get employed. He pronounced that his wife(s) would stay at home taking care of the children and other domestic duties. That was the year I stopped working. He would send me many pictures of gravesites, coffins and crosses saying he was going to kill me.” Mary recounted.

Read Also: Ugandan Woman Convicted Of FGM In UK, Becomes The First In The Country

She added, “When I went back to his house I became his errands girl. His life had completely changed. Everything that needed to go wrong about him had gone wrong. He was a different man. He was totally negative about church and Christianity. He described the Bible as a mere novel and Jesus as Maria’s lad who died a long time ago.”

Mary later got pregnant for their third child in 2020 and when she told her husband about it, she was ordered not to attend any clinics or hospitals.

Mary’s husband wanted the child delivered under the Gikuyu childbirth practices like Mumbi the mother of the Gikuyu tribe. According to Mary’s spouse, Kikuyu women lacked morals for associating with foreign traditions.

Mary says when she neared her due date, she realized there was a plot to have her circumcised during childbirth. She says she had to fake labour and deliver in the hospital to avoid her husband’s plan.

Read Also: Marakwet Elders To Present Gifts To Doctor Seeking To Legalize FGM

Mary added that the cultic-like movement was operational through a Whatsapp group where her husband among others were taking instructions from a man termed as ‘Chief.’

“The first instruction was that he had to pay the debts of Ngomi (the spirits of his forefathers). Two, he had to get his wife and daughter circumcised. Three, he had to rename his children with Gikuyu names….and finally had to undergo a ritual called “gutahikio”, to expel Jesus from his life,” the post further read.

According to Mary, the practices have spread deep into the villages and many men are abandoning their families to follow them.

Thus, she called on more people to speak out about the matter as a way of creating awareness.

You can read the full post here:

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Written by Kahawa Tungu


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