What you need to know:
- Protesters on Sunday took to the streets of Runogone village in Imenti North, Meru County demanding the arrest of a 61-year-old pastor accused of incest.
- The Form Four student, claimed her grandfather has sexually molested her since 2017 when she was in Form One.
- She said that her 16-year-old sister and 13-year-old cousin should also be taken into safe custody.
- Besides being a pastor at a local church, the man is also a member of the council of elders.
Hundreds of protesters on Sunday took to the streets of Runogone village in Imenti North, Meru County demanding the arrest of a 61-year-old pastor accused of incest.
The protestors also called on the government to take two other underage grandchildren into safe custody, alleging a deep-rooted vice of sexual abuse in the home perched on Kiathandi hill.
The demonstrations came after the man identified as Jacob Kirema, was arrested on Thursday for sexually molesting one of his granddaughters.
North Imenti Sub-county Police Commander Robinson Mboloi confirmed that the man was arrested last week after a 22-year-old granddaughter filed a complaint with the police.
“He has already been arraigned in court and released on cash bail,” Mr Mboloi said.
According to police reports, the woman reported the incident to Runogone chief on Monday before she was taken into safe custody.
The rescued woman, who is a Form Four student, claimed she has sexually molested her since 2017 when she was in Form One.
“He started doing it after my mother left. He would give us money and warn us against uttering a word. Every time his wife leaves for the market, he calls me to the house. Last week, I decided that I cannot keep quiet anymore and reported to the chief,” she said.
She said that her 16-year-old sister and 13-year-old cousin should also be taken into safe custody.
Shocked residents said besides being a pastor at a local church, the man was also an area manager tasked with ensuring law and order in the village.
Locals who demanded that the suspect be remanded to protect crucial evidence, marched to Runogone Police camp before going to his home threatening to rearrest him.
Mr Simon Gachoro, a village elder, said the suspect was removed from the chief’s Council of Elders after the allegations emerged last week.
“We have been hearing rumours of incest in the village until one of the granddaughters came out last week. We fired the suspect from the council. We are now working towards ensuring justice is served,” Mr Gachoro said.
Dr Karambu Ringera, a women’s rights activist, called for speedy determination of the matter to ensure the molested girls get justice.
“There has been a rise in cases of sexual molestation of girls, especially by fathers and grandfathers and this should be brought to an end. In this incident, the victim had reached a point of threatening to commit suicide. We are organising to have her undergo psychological counselling to address the trauma,” Dr Karambu said.
She noted that many cases of incest and defilement were unresolved due to cover-up by family members who tamper with crucial evidence.
“The victim has been reporting what was happening to the mother and grandmother but none of them have taken action. This is why there is need for deterrent punishment against all perpetrators,” she said.