Incidents of rape are on the rise in Marsabit County and the local court users committee (CUC) wants measures instituted to stem the worrying trend.
The committee expressed concern that many of the cases take place in remote grazing areas but are unreported.
Marsabit women’s advocacy development organization (Mwado) chief executive officer Nuria Gollo told a CUC meeting held at the Marsabit Catholic Pastoral Centre that cases of under age and vulnerable women being sexually abused were on the increase with culprits going unpunished.
Ms. Gollo pointed out that the rape menace was spoiling the life of the girl child because of many premature pregnancies that occurred in grazing areas where men took advantage of girls tasked with looking after livestock.
Ms. Gollo who is also the chairperson of the national council for children services (NCCS) said the untimely pregnancies were not only cutting short the education dreams of the innocent underage girls but also traumatizing the victims.
Chairing the meeting, Principal Magistrate Boaz Ombewa who stood for Resident Judge Said Chitebwe said law enforcement agents were doing their best to ensure that rape incidents were reported on time.
Mr. Ombewa lamented that owing to remoteness and lack of awareness among locals, the cases were usually reported late and thus the evidence could hardly sustain a prosecution as medical reports indicated otherwise.
He however said that cases of early pregnancies would be pursued through DNA tests and warned that punitive measures would be meted out against the culprits.
Mr. Ombewa also asked the police to ensure that cases of rape were handled by senior officers of the rank of an inspector and above to ensure there was due diligence.
The members also expressed concern that the department of health was levying a charge for filling P3 forms and asked the county government to scrap the charges.
They observed that the Sh1, 000 charged for processing the essential document was a hindrance to the execution of justice as most of the rape victims were from poor background and could not afford the levy.
“I also call upon stakeholders to step up the awareness campaign against the violation of children rights to enable members of the public to report any case of defilement within 72 hours,” said Mr. Ombewa.
By Sebastian Miriti