Since 2011 female genital mutilation has been illegal in Kenya – though too late for the 21 percent of girls and women in that country, aged between 15 and 49, estimated to have undergone the practice already. Though the ban was widely welcomed, and was introduced to the National Assembly as the brainchild of the cross-party Kenya Women’s Parliamentary Association, it has not been accepted by everyone. In fact, some traditionalists feel so strongly about it that they have gone to court with a claim that the law banning FGM is unconstitutional.
At first a reader may think that the judgment in this case is some kind of practical joke. How can it possibly be, as the judges’ first lines say, that the applicant in a case testing the constitutionality of Kenya’s ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) is a ‘Dr Tatu Kamua … a medical doctor’?