The Supreme Court Judge, Justice Njoki Ndung’u has differed with a Court of Appeal proposal to lower the age of sexual consent to 16 years, arguing the directive is ill advised and would lead to an increase in sexual abuse crimes.
Justice Ndung’u said it is unacceptable for girls as young as 16 years to be subjected to early sex.
She insisted the proposal is outrageous and should not be given an ear by any sober and sane Kenyan.
An amendment to the Sexual Offences Act presented to Parliament through the Statue Law (Miscellaneous Amendment Bill) 2016, wants the age for consensual sex lowered from 18 to 16 years.In Kenya, it is criminal for anybody to have sex with a person less than 18 years.
If the proposed amendment goes through Parliament, it will be legal for 16-year-olds to engage in sex and even get married.
The Court of Appeal Judges, Roselyn Nambuye, Daniel Musinga and Patrick Kiage, ruled that time was ripe for the country to consider changing the Sexual Offences Act, citing lengthy jail terms imposed on young men convicted of defilement.
“I cannot accept and agree with that position, women should not accept that decision because our young girls are not ready at that age to be parents,” said Justice Ndung’u.
Ndung’u also waded into the rising cases of homicide calling on women not to wait until they are mistreated or killed, instead, advised them to report to authorities to avert such crimes.
“We urge women to speak up and report any cases of violation. Let’s not wait until somebody is killed, that is when we report,” she urged.
Justice Ndung’u was speaking during the official launch of Women Led Social Justice Centre in Mwandoni area, Kisauni Sub County in Mombasa. She was accompanied by UK High Commissioner, Nic Hailey and Director of Public Prosecution, Noordin Haji.
The centre which was established through support from the UK Government in collaboration with Haki Afrika Organisation aims at delivering justice to women who undergo social injustice crimes. It will also help stem women radicalization and domestic violence cases.
Also speaking during the launch, the Director of Criminal Investigations, George Kinoti called for collaborative
engagement between the public and the police to stem rising cases of social crime against women.
Kinoti said his office will not hesitate to investigate domestic violence crimes against women perpetrated by police,
urging the public to be quick to report any violations of human rights to relevant authorities.
DPP Noordin Haji said it is important to safeguard women by protecting them through enforcing their rights.
Noordin noted in Mombasa there have been rampant cases of drug and substance abuse, crime and rape cases among women and he assured the publicthat his office was going to address such matters.
By Joseph Kamolo