David Kimeu is not only a pastor, but a full-time missionary with the Africa Inland Church Mission Department (AICMD). He has dedicated his time to rescuing girls from female genital mutilation and forced marriage. However, the local elders from his community falsely accused him because they strongly advocate for these outlawed practices.
“We were getting ready to take 16 girls for a three-day Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) camp when security officers surrounded our home, claiming that the girls were kidnapped, and we were summoned to the local police headquarters for questioning. All the girls were separated and asked to write statements about what was going on in our home” Pastor David Kimeu said.
On Thursday 9 August, Pastor David appeared before the Tiaty magistrate to answer questions pertaining to charges of human trafficking and the unlawful operation of a rescue centre.
“The files of the 16 girls presented before the magistrate by the prosecutor were read and a determination made. My wife and I were cleared of the charges because the girls indicated that they had taken refuge in our home for fear of being circumcised and married off to old men before they could finish their studies so that their parents can receive huge amounts of cattle dowry payment…Consequently, the girls have been separated from us and taken for custody in other orphanages and rescue shelters.”
Many communities in Kenya still practise female genital mutilation, despite knowing the potentially life-threatening medical problems it can cause. The church in Kenya has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts to stop this practice that hinders young girls from pursuing their dreams after being forced to marry older men. Rescue shelters have been opened to protect, counsel, and empower girls who have been mutilated or escaped mutilation.
“We have always met resistance because of our efforts to curb female genital mutilation (FGM) rite of passage in this community and the allegations of human trafficking levelled against my wife and I are malicious and uncalled for…We fear for our lives because the same people that called the police to arrest us are threatening to destroy our home, church, and the school we opened for the community. We have repeatedly faced death threats from known and unknown people and the local chief and police have taken no action… We need your prayers and encouragement as we continue with the Lord’s work in Tiaty,” lamented Pastor David.
The Kenyan parliament passed the Female Genital Mutilation Act in 2011, stating that violators will be punished with up to three years in prison for FGM and life imprisonment in cases that result in death.
Source: International Christian Concern