BY MWAKWAYA RAYMOND MWAKWAYA
The Sexual Offences Act (2006) should be amended to give it teeth to deal with sexual predators impregnating young girls with the inclusion of castration as punishment for such offenders.
Amason Kingi, the Kilifi County governor, says as the law is currently it is lousy and gives room to predators who impregnate school girls walk scot free when brought to book.
Launching a taskforce against early pregnancies on April 17, 2019, Mr Kingi wants castration to be part of the punishment to deter those involved in such offences saying even jail terms were no longer a deterrent.
“Those who impregnate our young girls have no room in the society and must be dealt with firmly, ruthlessly and should be castrated so that they may not repeat the same mistake” he said.
The governor directed the Kilifi County Commissioner Magu Mutindika to deal firmly with early pregnancy cases in the county to stop the trend of school girls falling prey to sexual predators.
This war, according to him, can only be won if all stakeholders come on board and work together to ensure the county’s registered 17,000 cases of young mothers as a result of early pregnancies is stopped once and for all.
The County government plans to put in place stringent measures to curb the vice by declaring all bars, clubs and mangwe’s (traditional liquor joints) out of bounce to school or college going youngsters.
He directed his inspectorate officers to work undercover and close down any bar, club or mangwe found to be allowing minors in their premises and have their licenses revoked forthwith.
Mr Mutindika, who was present, expressed his displeasure at the way the communities around embraced very outdated traditions that contribute immensely to child exploitation.
He mentioned the disco matanga as an ambiguous way of sending off the deceased saying this was one of the sources of early pregnancies in the region.
“Some parents have become too laissez-faire for their children to the extent of giving them a leeway of attending disco matanga anywhere and anytime. A move that exposes them to immoral behaviour,” he added.
Several times, according to him, he has been summoned to Nairobi to answer questions on why he banned disco matanga which is a source of livelihood to some investors but he stood his ground to defend the young girls against sexual predators using matanga (funerals) to prey for them.
County executive committee member for Gender, Social Services, Culture and Sports Maureen Mwangovya said the taskforce will report its findings in June after looking into different ways of reducing and combating early pregnancies.
The function also launched the Kilifi County adolescents and young persons’ sexual reproductive health, rights and HIV strategy that intends to protect the youths from being exploited or infected by people with bad intentions.
At the same time, the Governor wants the Mijikenda community to go back to its ancient ways of conducting burials where children could not be seen around doing lots of immoral activities as it is witnessed today.
The introduction of disco matanga, according to him, has eroded the cultural rituals that were paramount during the burial ceremonies.
The task force will be chaired by the Kilifi children’s officer George Mugosi and will comprise Ken Miriti (department of health), Cyrilus Mwangome (Gender), Grace Mjomba (Education sector) and Dr Alice Anika (Pwani University).
Others are Rose Juma, Julian Mwaega and Isabella Mwangi (NGO representatives) and Moureen Achieng (Healing Hearts) and Jackline Waweru (Youth) and Clara Mbigo (Police Gender desk) while soon to be co-opted is the Judiciary.
While visiting Turkana County recently, Senators Moses Wetangula (Bungoma) and Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo) led their colleagues in demanding that the ‘surgical procedure’ (castration) should be conducted on people who have sex with minors.
This came in the wake of recent reports of a dozen of school girls sitting for the final exams (KCPE/KCSE) increased to alarming rates last year while still pursuing their studies.