Children found loitering in Machakos town during late hours run the risk of being arrested, Machakos Assistant Commissioner Elijah Omoyo has told the Area Advisory Council (AAC).
Omoyo said it has come to the attention of the AAC that many underage children have been spotted idling in town late into the night, something which has raised concern over their security.
The administrator has similarly raised concern over the many cases of children allegedly seen frequenting entertainment joints without being accompanied by their parents as required by law.
He therefore asked parents to be aware of their children whereabouts especially as the festive season beckons warning guardians would be held responsible in case such minors are found out.
“We are calling upon parents to ensure they are aware of the whereabouts of the children especially as form four students prepare to proceed home this week. Let it be known that we will not hesitate to arrest any child who will be found roaming in town during late hours and summon the concerned parent to come and bail him out,” he said.
His comments came as reports emerged revealing how underage children were making bookings in popular night clubs within Machakos after colluding with rogue security guards manning the premises.
According to a report which was tabled by the Machakos sub county Children Officer Emily Kimanzi minors as young as 13 years old have been frequenting entertainment joints and even booking rooms for overnight stay after bribing their ways through the security checks. In one instance, a 13-year-old girl who is alleged to have stolen Sh 120,000 from her aunt was recently traced with her boyfriend in a popular inn at Masii town by detectives.
The two are suspected to have sneaked into the premises after bribing the security guards manning the gate. By the time security officers apprehended the pair, they had spent all the money. Police however found rolls of bhang and bottles of hard liquor in the room where the duo was staying.
The second case reportedly took place in Mlolongo where an underage girl was arrested with her male companion in a lodging after having disappeared with Sh 20,000 allegedly stolen from her grandmother.
The minors were also found with mobile phones suspected to have been used in sending pornographic videos to an international online media platform from where they are paid Sh1,000 for every video shoot.
Kimanzi called for concerted efforts from both parents and relevant stakeholders to help nurture responsible children. She said the number of teenage pregnancies in the county has been on an upward trajectory since the government ordered all schools closed in March this year and warned the situation may get worse during the festive season.
“The issue of underage girls and boys booking rooms in lodgings should be an issue of concern to right thinking Kenyans. Children are no longer meeting in secluded places as was the norm in yesteryears but are paying for rooms in hotels where they can have sex undisturbed. This is a worrying trend,” she pointed out.
Kimanzi also took note with bodaboda riders who she accused of playing a big role in fueling the crisis which saw 4,000 underage girls become pregnant within Machakos by June this year.
The council was also informed of the increasing number of strip joints mushrooming within Machakos town and called for investigations into the matter to ensure such clubs are closed down and their licenses revoked.
On his part, Machakos branch Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) chair Mr. Mutavi Kithu told the members he was unaware of such joints but promised to inform the County Liquor Licensing Committee to have the matter investigated and appropriate action taken.
By Samuel Maina