Sharp objects like broken glass, razors, or scissors are used in FGM (Pic. Reuters)

DAR ES SALAAM – A campaigner against female genital mutilation in TANZANIA has accused politicians in the northern region of MARA Region of aiding the continued practice of Female Genital Mutilation, FGM.

ROBI SAMUEL from TARIME District says politicians seeking votes in the area have been entering into agreements with traditional leaders, promising to protect them as they practice FGM.

She says they use chiefs and herd men as their campaigners to attract voters, promising to protect the traditional leaders if they encounter problems during FGM practices.

Ms SAMUEL, who is the Director of SAFE HOUSE TANZANIA, has made the accusations during an event lined up by the CHAMPIONS ACTIVE TO END FGM in partnership with the UNITED NATIONS Population Fund.

The DAILY NEWS says the activity has also seen the screening of the internationally acclaimed film titled IN NAME OF YOUR DAUGHTER.

It says Ms SAMUEL has called on the State and the rest of the anti-FGM advocates to come up with a decree for politicians to lead the fight against the brutality against women and girls in the country.

She says most of the traditional leaders in MARA Region would love to stop FGM practices, but due to economic constraints, they allow the practice to continue and they earn money.

Ms SAMUEL says many traditional leaders had stopped the tradition completely but have gone back because they miss the rewards they used to earn from the people who took their daughters for genital mutilation.

She says there is need for support to the traditional leaders who abandon the practice, in order to enable them to engage in other income generating activities, and get rid of FGM.

Ministry of Health Family Unit Assistant Director GRACE MWANGWA says the State is committed to eliminate traditions and cultural beliefs that lead communities into engaging in FGM practices.

However, she says the main challenges are the traditional norms and beliefs among the people – which prompt them to engage girls and women into the violence.

Ms MWANGWA also says the government has a variety of initiatives lined up to ensure gender-based violence, including FGM, comes to an end by 2030.

She says ONE of the plans is the National Forum ahead of the International Girl Child in OCTOBER, when government officials and stakeholders discuss how to stop the FGM and other forms of violence against women and girls.

UNFPA Deputy Representative HASHINA BEGUM says there is need for the government and stakeholders to work together to challenge traditions and cultural beliefs that foment FGM practices.

The high-ranking UN official says the world body will continue to support the TANZANIAN authorities to activate the national FGM task force and to ensure laws and policies on FGM are implemented.

Researchers say female genital mutilation, also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision, is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia.

They say the practice is found in AFRICA, ASIA and the MIDDLE EAST, and within communities from countries in which FGM is common.

UNICEF says about 200-MILLION women living in 27 AFRICAN countries, as well as in INDONESIA, IRAQI KURDISTAN and YEMEN in 2016 went through the FGM procedures./Sabanews/cam

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