Stakeholders in Garissa County have raised an alarm on involvement of children in political rallies and campaigns, exposing them to risk of harm.
Speaking during a consultative meeting in Garissa, County Children’s Officer Mohamed Abdi called on all stakeholders to ensure that children are not involved in politics.
Abdi regretted that over the past few weeks, children have been involved in political rallies and public barazas and some children have been found lost in areas far from their homes.
“As stakeholders we are looking at ways in which we can shape the message to children and parents to sensitize the communities against having children in political rallies,” Abdi said.
“We have child focused messages detailing responsibilities of all players; parents, teachers, ministry of education, the police and the chiefs in ensuring the children are safe during this electioneering period,” he added.
Iftin East location Chief Dekow Mohammud urged the parents to keep tabs on their children at all times.
“We have seen children on campaign trails and this is dangerous because anything can happen to those children in such crowded areas. They may be hit by vehicles, accidents do happen or children can even be lost when they follow the campaign convoys to far areas,” Mohammud said.
“It is the responsibility of parents to know where their children are at all times. These children are not going to vote and so they have no business being in rallies. They should stay at home and do their homework and other chores,” he added.
Garissa Township Sub County Director of Education Ali Buthul said that the schools will be expected to break for elections on August 6, to allow the IEBC prepare in schools which will be used as polling centres.
He called on the head teachers to work closely with parents especially in noting the time the children leave schools so that the parents know at what time the children should reach home.
“We are directing all headmasters to note when the children report to school and when they leave for their homes. At such a time, they also need to tell the parents when the children leave school so that we do not have children loitering around after school,” Buthul said.
By Erick Kyalo