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Increase in divorce, a major threat to children

Parents in Garissa have been urged to protect their children from abuse and discrimination when they divorce.

Speaking during the celebrations of International Children Day in Garissa, Township sub County Children Officer Benjamin Kinyua said that cases of divorce in the county were steadily increasing leaving a trail of children from one marriage to another.

“Children are psychologically affected when their parents’ divorce or separate. In other cases, children are neglected as their mothers leave them for other marriages,” Kinyua said.

“We need to establish frameworks to ensure that these children are taken care of in a good environment to enable them to grow to achieve their potentials,” he added.

Other issues affecting the children in the region include FGM, child marriages, neglect, discrimination and stigma for disabled children and online abuse.

Kinyua further cautioned parents against solving cases through Maslah, an alternative dispute resolution mechanism practiced in Islam, saying cases of any criminal kind should only be prosecuted in a court of law.

“When a child is defiled, married off early or forced to undergo FGM, these cases should be reported to police and allow the justice system to take the course,” he said.

“In most cases, when elders sit to determine these cases, the children do not receive justice because for example, they asked for a certain amount of money, or camels which are given to the parents or divided among the elders involved in the case,” he added.

The Children’s Officer pleaded with the residents to come out and report such injustices against children rather than letting the children suffer in silence.

Meanwhile, Garissa Sub County Director of Education Ali Buthul said that the government introduced a school feeding programme in the region to cushion the children from adverse effects of drought.

He said the government is also implementing a 100 per cent transition programme from primary to secondary schools.

“If you know any child who is not going to school, please report them to us so that we can go to them and make sure that they attend their learning,” Buthul said.

In Nyeri, Mukurwe-ini Assistant County Commissioner, Elizabeth Kajaria said that children should be well equipped with knowledge about their rights as a way of shielding them from abuse.

Speaking during this year’s commemoration of the International Day of the African Child in Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri County, Kajaria said when children are well equipped with information about their rights, it becomes easy for them to note when someone tries to infringe on those rights.

The ACC called on parents, guardians and other stakeholders like teachers to ensure that children’s rights are protected as a way of safeguarding the nation’s future.

From Narok Resident Magistrate Adelaide Sisenda said the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is on course in Narok County with the judiciary vowing to fast track all the cases in court to ensure the culprits are punished as per the law.

Speaking during the Day of the African Child celebrations held at Enkutoto Primary School in Narok South Sub County, Sisenda said the judiciary is committed to make sure that justice prevails for the children.

“Laws are sufficient and if anyone is found culpable, we are ready to follow the Law. We have the Anti – FGM Act which is very strict, the fines are highly punitive with mandatory sentences of three years imprisonment or Sh200, 000 fine,” she said.

In neighbouring Kajiado the National Council for Administration of Justice (NCAJ) Taskforce chairperson Lady Justice Teresia Matheka has decried continued harmful practices against children.


Speaking during the national celebration of Day of the African Child at Elangata Wuas Primary School in Kajiado, Matheka said though statistics from the courts signified a decline in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), more needed to be done to quell the defilement and sexual harassment cases that were still rampant in the country.


She said in the latest meeting with school children on Monday June 13 with the Chief Justice and children in Nairobi, they were swamped with questions by the children 60% of which were on defilement and sexual offences related.


Matheka echoed confessions from Maa community spokesperson Mrs Naimpei Koikai that FGM has declined significantly in Kajiado though some revelations needed to be brought in the limelight including those related to sexual offenses.

“It is a worrying trend that if a girl doesn’t undergo FGM, they are exposed to defilement and sexual harassment, a social practice which needs to be addressed,” said Matheka.


She called for cooperation between the NCAJ which attracts membership from the Judiciary, Probation, Prison, Department of Children Services, the Civil Society, Police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to jointly work together in the justice system to ensure expeditious execution of justice for children. “Without working together, we cannot uphold the rights of children,” said the chair.


Matheka encouraged girls who underwent the cut to be on the forefront to fight the vice in the society as an earlier presentation by Elangata Wuas children poem titled “Let the broken girl be the warrior” proposed.


At the same time, various stakeholders in Kakamega are on the high alert following increasing cases of incest as the county marks the day of an African Child.

Cases of incest are on the high to the extent that a children’s home has been set up to specifically shelter those children at Bukura.

A situation analysis that was conducted by the county, leading to development of a Child Policy also revealed that the county has increasing cases of child neglect, and was still facing challenges of street children and early marriages.

Cases of sexual abuse among children, Gender Based Violence (GBV), abandonment and children led families also prompted the county government to develop the policy which is in its final stages.

The County Head of Human Resource Management and Development in the Department of Social Services Evelyne Etyang’ said the county would also use the policy for resource mobilization to support programmes for empowering children.

Children stakeholders in Kiambu County have raised concern over the increased cases of teenage pregnancies in the area, with figures showing that 378 young girls visited prenatal clinics within the course of the year.

Statistics from the Kenya Data and Health Survey 2021 collected between January 2022 and May 2022 showed that the majority of the girls were aged between10 and 14.

During the Day of the African Child County celebrations in Thika town, the stakeholders said the number may be high as some do not attend clinics.

They attributed the situation to increased poverty levels occasioned by high cost of living and erosion of the moral fabric of the society.

Kiambu County Coordinator of Children Services Rose Mbarine said increased sensitization meetings needed to be done to reduce defilements and the number of teenage mothers.

In Thika Constituency for instance, more than 1,600 girls were impregnated last year, according to the Sub county Children Officer Linah Mwangi.

By KNA Team

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