Chiefs in Busia have been advised against solving Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases at home but instead report the perpetrators to the police.
Speaking during a sensitization forum at a hotel in Busia town on Monday, the Director of Rural Education and Empowerment Programme, Mary Makokha, expressed concern that a section of the administrators sometimes decide to resolve such cases through kangaroo courts.
“In most cases chiefs do not know how to respond and some of them even participate in kangaroo courts,” she said, adding that the organization wants to build their capacity so that they are able to respond to both sexual and Gender-Based Violence cases.
Makokha further said that there is need to sensitize the administrators on land issues that are very rampant in the County.
She at the same time stated that cases of GBV have increased, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic with women bearing the brunt.
“What has hit me hard is that even cases have even gone high,’ she said, adding that her organization has recorded over 20 cases of fathers defiling their daughters.
The official pointed out that there is a father who has been defiling his daughters aged three and four years for the past four years.
“We need a shelter in Busia where victims of violence can go, otherwise we are going to witness homicides,” she said, adding that at times she is forced to keep the victims at her home.
Makokha blamed the surge in the vices on patriarchy, alcoholism, substance abuse, repugnant culture and poverty among women.
“We are also witnessing a lot of violence on the boy child, issues of sodomy are also on the rise,” she said, adding that there are cases where women have also harmed men physically.
She at the same time noted that the local community has normalized violence and only complain when a man has been harmed.
“About 50 per cent of women in Busia have undergone one form of violence or another and it starts when they start very early at childhood where the girl child is discriminated against,” she said.
Busia County Commissioner, John Korir, said that Busia is one of the leading Counties in terms of Gender Based Violence.
“In fact, Busia is one of the leading in the country when it comes to violation of the rights of the most vulnerable,” he said, adding that a week hardly passes without a case of rape being reported in the County.
Korir argued that moral decay has penetrated the society for a long period, leading to a lot of violence in form of rape, defilement and violence against women.
“Cases of rape are highly secretive in Busia and the society is not ready to come out and shun these social evils,” he said, adding that women who try to report cases of incest are threatened by being sent away from their marriages.
He explained that this vice can be addressed better if the civil society organization works in collaboration with the National Government Administration Officers.
“From here, the Chiefs will move as our ambassadors to sensitize the community at the grassroots level,” he said, expressing confidence that the initiative will improve access to justice by the victims of violence.
The Official, however, discouraged the administrators against arbitrating on issues of rape, defilement or violence against humanity.
By Salome Alwanda