Teso North Area Advisory Council has blamed kangaroo courts for the increase in the number of child abuse cases in the sub county.
This arose yesterday during the council’s meeting with other stakeholders held at Amagoro to deliberate on emerging issues affecting child protection like teenage pregnancies, child prostitution, defilement, child marriages and child labour.
Amagoro Assistant County Commissioner Hawo Bonaya who chaired the meeting told the stakeholders that they have a critical role to play in protecting the children besides ensuring victims of child abuse access justice. “Let us be champions in fighting for the rights of the young girls and boys,” he urged.
On the issue of kangaroo courts, Bonaya asked the stakeholders not to hesitate to report any incidents involving chiefs and their assistants for action to be taken.
The Sub County Children Officer Joy Alumase said there is need to sensitize parents on child rights and how to seek legal redress whenever they have been abused.
She said cases of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children were on the rise in the sub county hence there is need for collaborative efforts from all partners combat the vice.
Katakwa Diocese Anglican Church Bishop John Okude said the alarming numbers of children being abused should be awake up call to the community to act now and protect the future generation.
“The moment we allow the trend to go on and the life of that child is cut short because of failing to act, then we are losing a nation, we are losing a leadership and one day God will ask you what you did when you had the opportunity,” Bishop Okunde.
“The issue of kangaroo courts in our community is rampant. However we as community leaders and social workers should remain steadfast and safe guard the rights of our children,” he said.
World Vision representative at the meeting Everlyne Ementono said kangaroo courts were the biggest hiccup in the fight against injustices meted to children.
She said the only way to curtail the rise in the cases and save the children especially the girl child is to deal with the courts.
Ementono disclosed that since July, they have managed to trace about 89 cases of teenage pregnancies across the sub county.
Moding chief Gilbert Odera however refuted claims that chiefs and their assistants presided over kangaroo courts saying over 80 percent of the reported defilement cases originated from their offices.
He blamed clan elders for the proliferation of the kangaroo courts which he noted were a hindrance towards provision of justice to abused children.
“As stakeholders, we have to find out ways of dealing with members of these courts because it is the life of the child that is affected and not theirs,” he said.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait