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Corrupt security officials to blame for rising cases of defilement

Corrupt and inept government officials are to blame for rising cases of defilement in Siaya county, a non-governmental organization has said.

The director of Malaika Foundation, Dr. Steve Ouma Akoth said that research by the foundation had revealed that corrupt administration and police officers, parents and guardians were to blame for most cases of sexual assault.

Speaking at the Malaika Foundation headquarters at Kanyaudo Village in Ugenya sub county Thursday, Dr. Akoth said most perpetrators of sexual offences end up scot free to continue with their heinous acts after the security officers are compromised to either tamper with evidence, threaten the victims and their families into withdrawing the cases or force them into a compromise with suspects.

“Our research has shown that most police officers do not know what evidence should be protected and how it should be done in case of defilement or rape,” he said.

The Director called on the government to come up strongly against anybody found compromising with perpetrators of rape and defilement, adding that there should be no discussion with such people who must be made to face the law.

Speaking during the forum, several victims of rape and parents whose children had been defiled narrated a harrowing experience at the hands of the law enforcers.

Among them was a mother of a three year old mentally challenged girl who was defiled by a herd’s boy on Yenga sub location but has been waiting for justice for weeks.

The mother tearfully narrated how she found her young girl in a sorry situation in abandoned home, minutes after she met the herd’s boy coming out of it looking suspicious.

“I had left by daughter who is also crippled in my house and went to draw water in a nearby stream only to find her missing in mysterious circumstances,” she said, adding that efforts to seek justice had met resistance as the police kept on asking for eye witnesses.

A Catholic priest, Father John Obutsa lamented that it was a pity that perpetrators of sexual offences were allowed to walk free as a result of corrupt officers taking advantage of the ignorance of the parents, guardians or victims.

Fr. Obutsa, a missionary with Comboni Missionaries based in Turkana County said it was time the society came out strongly against sexual pests and stop negotiating with them.

“As a church, we are strongly against this and we insist that the law must take its course” he said.

Both Fr. Obutsa and Dr. Akoth urged education officials and teachers to make it easy for girls who become mothers at an early age to resume their studies after giving birth.

Recently, members of the Ukwala Court Users committee expressed concern that uncontrolled urge for sex is spelling doom for youths in Siaya and unless action is taken to reverse the trend, the impact on the future of the society is doomed.

Apart from the HIV/AIDS scourge, for which Siaya county is leading with a prevalence rate of 21 per cent according to the statistics from the National Aids Control Council, another monster that is slowly decimating the population of the youth in the area is incarceration for long jail terms for committing sexual offences, the committee noted.

The CUC which met at a hotel in Sega Township was told that more than two hundred youths from the county’s six constituencies have been incarcerated at the Siaya GK prisons for defilement, an indication of the moral decay in the society.

And to make the matter worse, majority of the youths aged 35 years and below are serving long jail terms, ranging from 20 years to life time imprisonment, said a member of the committee who is also the officer in charge of Siaya GK prisons, senior superintendent Francis Opondo.

According to Opondo, the number of the youths serving jail terms for sexual offences is not going to reduce anytime soon, if statistics is anything to go by. He says that Siaya prisons receive at least one young man from the courts each week to serve a jail term for sexual offences.

“This calls for a serious debate amongst members of the society,” said the prisons boss adding that there was urgent need for the community to realise the gravity of the matter lest it loses all its young men.

According to the court users committee that includes members of the judiciary, the police, probation and children’s officers and members of the public, more young people are finding themselves in sick bays or in jails because the community had abdicated its role of guiding the youth against various ills, especially on sexual offences.

Many times, the members said, the community looks the other way as girls and women are assaulted and rarely does somebody comes forward to give evidence against suspected abusers.

Ukwala magistrate, Ms. Gladys Adhiambo narrated to the participants how she had to release a suspect who had been accused of defiling a three year old baby because of lack of evidence to pin him down. The man had defiled the minor in a school toilet.

“The evidence was not protected and the police did not take the spermatozoa for DNA analysis,” she said

Adhiambo says that women and girls in Siaya were exposed to all sorts of abuse, sexual, physical, emotional and even economic.

“Girls, women and children are no longer safe within the environments that had hitherto been considered a safe haven,” she said.

By Philip Onyango

 

 

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