Retired Rev. Timothy Njoya has taken a radical approach on ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Kenya.
In his 802-page book: Selfhood; Divinity of the Clitoris, the retired minister of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) gives a rather revolutionary strategy to clean the Kenyan society of the vice in a country where one in three girls is at risk of the cut.
In his justification of the brazen title, Rev Njoya says he chose to use the word clitoris in its outright term to bring the message home to every man and woman on the effects of FGM.
PIECE OF MEAT
“Clitoris is made in the image of God and it is divine,” he explains.
“To cut a woman and remove the clitoris is like taking a woman for a piece of meat.”
But why is it so important that a clitoris remains in its whole?
Rev. Njoya has a divinity answer to that.
“A woman’s clitoris has more than 20,000 nerve endings, while a penis is wired with only 2,000 nerve endings,” he states.
“The clitoris is wired to pull 60kg of pelvic bones apart and pull them back. Without the nerve endings, the muscles cannot pull apart…that is why 20 per cent of Kenyan women die during child birth because their pelvic bones have nothing to pull them apart when they are circumcised.”
He adds: “The children die during birth because the pelvic does not open automatically.”
“So, by just cutting the clitoris you are killing millions of children,” he notes.
He gives a religious perspective to addressing FGM. By this, selfhood, comes in.
Rev. Njoya says a woman was created in her complete self with the clitoris. He insists it is not a compartment of a woman but makes her a whole self, thus selfhood.
It should, therefore, never be assumed that a clitoris is a lesser part of a woman’s body to be removed at any time or at will by anyone.
“In Beijing, they said women rights are human rights, so the women are complete with the clitoris. It is very bad to think that one part of the human being is better than the other. A woman is not a bag of meat,” he emphasises.
The revolutionary religious leader, who has been a strong defender of human rights and democracy in Kenya, believes religion is a major contributor to high prevalence of FGM in the country.
“We keep on cutting girls because FGM became religious. You sacrifice the clitoris because it is so powerful and so good and you don’t want women to enjoy sex,” he says.
“(That) when you cut (her clitoris) you have controlled and owned the woman. It is an urge of possession,” he says.
Rev. Njoya laughs hard when asked if FGM is likely to end by 2022 as pledged by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“It will not end by 2022 or any time I know. But the question is that it is good to have a focus and timeline so that you are determined to achieve the target,” he says.
If he meets Mr Kenyatta with the book, he says he will tell him: “You are the one who symbolises unity and integrity of femininity in Kenya, so implement this book.”
His mother, he says, inspired him to write the book which has taken him almost four years to finish. It was published in June this year.
On January 5 1925, he says, his mother revolted against the British and refused to be cut.
Out of that act, she went on to study and finally became the first female teacher with advanced Presbyterian education.
“My mother educated people who became cabinet ministers during (Jomo) Kenyatta’s time,” he says.
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