Kenya News

ODPP to hire over 150 prosecutors from marginalized communities

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has said that his office is in the process of recruiting over 150 prosecutors from marginalized communities to deal with rising cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Gender Based Violence, defilement and rape.

Speaking Monday in Garissa during the launch of the Standard Operating Procedures manual and Rapid Reference Guide on FGM, Haji said that majority of the prosecutors will be women because most of the victims of these crimes are female.

At the same time Haji defended himself from accusations that most of the shortlisted candidates are from his community noting that ‘there must be regional balance in the institution’.

“We are in the process of hiring over 150 prosecutors and I know that many people have accused me of nepotism alleging that most of the shortlisted candidates are Somalis. If you look at the percentage of staff in our office, some communities are not represented,” haji said.

“We cannot say that as ODPP we are a national institution if we do not have all regional representation. We will try to bring people from this community, especially women to serve you accordingly,” he added.

The DPP said that the aim of the guidelines is to standardize and ensure consistency and efficiency in the investigation and prosecution of FGM cases, protection of the rights of victims and witnesses, and to enhance cooperation, collaboration and coordination among key stakeholders in the Administration of Justice.

Haji said that FGM is not anchored anywhere in the Islamic religion and people should not hide behind it to continue practicing the act.

Haji strongly opposed arbitration of FGM through ‘Maslah’ which is an alternative dispute resolution method amongst Muslim

“There are people who have approached me to say that they have agreed to settle a matter with the elders and pay the victims. Some of these matters are rape cases involving an uncle and his niece,” Haji lamented

“I want you to know that all matters of gender based violence, sexual offenses, defilement, and FGM cases will not be settled through Maslah. If you are truly Islamic, you know the punishment of raping a woman,” he stated

He further warned chiefs and sub chiefs in the region who are allegedly leading the elders in settling defilement and FGM cases through Maslah when reported to them that action will be taken against them.

He called for greater cooperation and coordination among all relevant government institutions together with the grassroots organisations, religious bodies and communities to develop strategies to end FGM in accordance with President Kenyatta’s 2019 directive to end FGM by 2022.

North Eastern Regional Police Commander, Rono Bunei, said that the police will deal with all matters related to FGM with the seriousness they deserve to make sure that the ‘cut’ is stopped noting that it is their duty to implement all government directives.

Bunei regretted that affected girls in most cases have had to drop out of school and then forced to early marriages after the act, denying them their basic rights to education.

According the Kenya Demographics and Health Surveys and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), it is estimated that over 4 million women and girls have been subjected to FGM meaning that one in five women and girls have been subjected to this gruesome violation of their rights.

FGM was outlawed in Kenya in 2011 though it continues to be a cultural practice among several communities.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic period and the resultant closing of schools, there was increased cases of FGM, sexual violence and child marriage.

The event was attended by Garissa County Commissioner, Boaz Cherutich, MPs Sofia Abdi (Ijara), Mohamed Dahiye (Dadaab), Garissa County Secretary, Abdi Sheikh, among others.

By: KNA

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