Children’s rights must be upheld before, during and after the August 9, general elections.
According to the Director in charge of Strategic Intervention for Children Protection at the Directorate of Children’s services, Philip Nzenge, upholding of children’s rights during the election period requires a multi-faceted approach by various stakeholders.
Nzenge noted that the public must be sensitized on the rights of the children to ensure that they are protected. He called on parents and guardians not to allow children to attend political rallies and restrict their access to election-related protests and violence.
Stakeholders involved in child protection including the Judiciary and the National Police Service must also ensure that the rights of the children are upheld at all times by following the laid down case management guidelines.
The Director revealed that cases of children during political gatherings and campaigns have been rampant and this infringes on their rights. He said that conducting campaigns near schools also disrupts learning activities.
Speaking in Kajiado town after holding a stakeholders’ sensitization forum on Case Management and Referral guidelines on cases affecting children, Nzenge urged politicians to respect the rights of the children by ensuring that they are not involved in their political campaigns and gatherings.
“We must observe the protection of children before, during and after elections. Children do not vote and so should not be involved in political events to perform poems or songs. Learning institutions should also not be used for political campaigns and rallies,” he said.
The Director further revealed that children bear the biggest brunt during post-election related violence as they face physical and sexual abuse with many losing their lives.
“In the event of violence most children suffer from trauma that has long term effects on their development into adults, thus they must be protected.” he said.
During the 2007/2008 post-election violence, 30 per cent out of the 1,200 people killed were children. Over 100,000 children were internally displaced leading to them dropping out of school.
Children were also victims of sexual abuse and most of them were left psychologically traumatized by the violence.
Kajiado County Coordinator of Children’s Services Samuel Masese revealed that stakeholders have been trained on case management and election preparedness with focus on how the child can be kept safe before, during and after elections.
He called on the public to report any child abuse and neglect cases to their office for appropriate action to be taken.
By Rop Janet