The government has banned children from going to the beaches at night in Kwale County as parents grapple with the dilemma of the long school holiday.
The Kwale County Commissioner (CC), Karuku Ngumo who issued the order said no children will be allowed to access beaches past 6pm in the region.
Ngumo on Thursday warned that stern action will be taken against those found at the beaches past the set time, including parents who neglect their duties.
“Children found roaming around the beaches past 6 pm will be disciplined and their parents prosecuted for negligence,” he said.
He told parents not to let their children to wander around beaches at night especially during the fast approaching festive season in December to avoid ugly incidents involving minors.
“Parents have a duty to strictly and closely monitor the behavior of their children to save them from harm, mischief or criminal activities,” added Ngumo.
He said security officers will be conducting regular patrols in the beaches to ensure the ban is complied with and safety of beach goers is guaranteed.
He further said many locals and foreigners will be coming to the county for holidays during the festive season hence the need to limit access to the beaches by children.
“We don’t want our children to be allowed to walk at night to the beaches or to wedding parties. We want children to remain children and for that reason we will firmly deal with the parents if we find minors around such places,” he said.
The administrator asked parents to create time for their children and to prioritize their education and overall well-being.
Ngumo said that the ban is one of the measures backed by local leaders in a bid to reduce teenage pregnancies that are on the rise in the region.
Two candidates gave birth during this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations in the county
Last year, no girls registered for last year’s KCPE at a school in Kinango due to pregnancies, according to a Learning Assessment report by Uwezo Kenya.
The report shows early pregnancies as one of the major causes of poor performance in education in the county.
The Kwale Welfare Education Association (KWEA) says that girls have been dropping out of school due to pregnancies at an alarming rate.
It has also been reported that some parents deny their children lunch break in a desperate attempt to tame the vice amidst reports that some school children engage in sex amongst themselves.
The Chama Cha Uzalendo Chairman, Richard Onsongo advised parents to ensure children are kept busy during holidays to prevent them from falling into bad influences
“We should not be weighed down by our children during holidays, and neither should we delegate our parental responsibilities to teachers as they only supplement our role,” he said.
By James Muchai