Kajiado County Commissioner Mr. David Kipkemei has vowed to eliminate rampant early marriages and teenage pregnancies in the county.
Mr. Kipkemei asked pastoralists to stop marrying off their girls at a tender age and instead embrace education and take full responsibility of the girl child upbringing.
“We cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and assume everything is fine when we have to put our young girls in the rescue centers to protect them from early marriages and female genital mutilation,” Mr.Kipkemei said.
The county commissioner made the remarks on Saturday when he met parents of young girls at Naning’oe Girls Rescue centre where he promised to ensure all the children in Kajiado County are accorded equal treatment.
Mr.Kipkemei donated foodstuffs, beddings and sanitary towels for 46 girls who have sought refuge in the institution for fear of being married off or forced to undergo female circumcision.
“It is heart-breaking that a small girl of tender age cannot enjoy her holiday with their parents, the people who should make them feel safer from any other person,” said Mr.Kipkemei.
“These young girls have chosen to remain in school due to the fear that they will either be married off to old men or face the cut and at times both events are arranged simultaneously,” reiterated the CC.
However, the administrator said the Government will not tolerate retrogressive traditional practices such as FGM, early marriages and teenage pregnancies that have been overtaken by time.
He said children must go through their education without any form of cultural obstacles which he said has left the girls in pastoralists communities struggling as they are subjected to outdated cultural practices at the expense of education.
Mr. Kipkemei challenged parents to accord dignity to their children and warned the Government will not relent taking action against anyone found guilty of subjecting their daughters to early marriage or FGM.
Naningoi Primary School head teacher Ms.Theresia Nkoishi appealed to the Government to gazette the institution as a rescue center.
“We face huge challenges in these girls’ rescue centre because the school is just a boarding school, whereby when schools close the pupils are expected to go home but in our case they remain here,” she said.
“That means we have to provide food and clothing for them throughout the holiday but if the school is gazzeted we will be better placed to get the needed help from Government,” said Ms. Nkoishi.
At the same time, the administrator was appalled by elderly men’s desire to seek children to be their wives while addressing a different forum in Mosiro Ward, Kajiado County.
“Sincerely, fellow gentlemen why are we doing this to our young generation yet there are so many mature ladies within us who have attained the right age to make their own decisions rather than shaming yourself in front of a young innocent soul,” posed Kipkemei.
The CC commissioned a new adult class in Mosiro ward that can accommodate 50 learners where they will be taught basic literacy for them to understand how to transact business on their own.
According to Mercy Wanjiru, the Kajiado West Sub County Adult Education Officer the adult centre will also act as an encouragement and hope to others even though the ratio in the class stand at 30% for men and 70% for women.
By Nelly Kosgey