Concern over rising defilement cases in Nyanza, Western

Defilement protests

Residents of Matunda, Uasin Gishu County, protest against rising cases of defilement in the area, on February 18, after a police officer allegedly defiled a minor.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group 

What you need to know:

  • The months of March and April have witnessed a rise in defilement cases, some involving parents and close relatives and acquaintances of the minors.
  • Unfortunately, most of the cases fizzle out and never make it to court as families cover up.
  • Courts are too far to be accessed by victims.

Authorities have raised concern over the high rate of defilement cases happening during the current school holiday. Sex pests who happen to be people close to the children are preying on them.

The months of March and April have witnessed a rise in the cases, some involving parents and close relatives and acquaintances of the minors.

Unfortunately, most of the cases fizzle out and never make it to court as families cover up.

In counties like Homa Bay, most suspects defile children with the belief they will be cured of Aids and the virus that causes it.

In Bomet, 33 cases of defilement have been reported in the last one month alone according to statistics from the children’s department.

Sotik Sub-county registered the highest with 19 cases, Konoin had nine, Chepalungu two while Bomet Central and Bomet reported one case each.

Kericho County registered 41 defilement cases with the victims being between the ages of 12 and 15 years according to records in the public health and children’s department.

“Most of the cases have not been captured because suspects interfere with the victims and witnesses,” said Mr Duncan Ng’eno, Director Children’s Department, Bomet County.

His Migori counterpart John Odinya said more than 60 cases were reported in the county in March and April, with five involving mentally challenged children.

 “Most perpetrators are well known to victims. We are handling cases of relatives who have gone into hiding after defiling their kin,” he says.

A retired nurse was last week arraigned for defiling a 17-year-old disabled child he had been asked to treat.

Mr Michael Tingo denied the charges and was freed on a Sh100,000 bond. Police say he committed the offences in Apida between August 2020 and February.

Rental house

Police in Migori are also looking for a 20-year-old boda-boda rider they accuse of cohabiting with two schoolgirls aged 12 and 17 years, at his rental house in Apida Estate.

Local village elder Consolate Odongo told Nation that the two girls a Class Six pupil and Form One dropout, lived with the suspect as his wives since schools closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Sadly, the suspect’s parents were aware but took no action,” she added.

Migori County Commissioner Mr Boaz Cherutich said guardians were the stumbling block in the quest for justice for defilement victims as they fail to appear in court or even seek out of court settlement.

“We make arrests but parents don’t appear in court, fearing reprisals from perpetrators’ families. Some report but later withdraw the cases,” he said.

At least 12 children have been defiled in Rangwe and Homa Bay sub-counties in March and April.

Homa Bay Children’s Department says five cases involved stepfathers.

“The number could be higher,” Mr Joseph Otieno, a children’s officer, told Nation. 

Two recent cases were reported in Rodi Kopany, with one — a girl aged six — reportedly being defiled by her stepfather. The man is in custody. 

During a visit to Homa Bay last year, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said at least 7,200 children became pregnant during the March to December school closure.

Some 286 defilement cases have been reported in Kisumu between January and April, according to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital Gender Centre.

Highest number

Ms Alice Amol, in charge of the centre, said 259 cases involve girls in the 13-17 age group, while 18 cases are of 12-year-olds.

“There are nine children aged five and below,” she said.

January had the highest number of defilement cases at 92, while April saw 47 cases. February and March had 86 and 61 respectively.

Six defilement cases were reported in Kakamega South Sub-county, 10 in Lugari and one in Butere between March and April.

In Kakamega South, local police chief John Chesire said a 15-year-old girl was defiled by a 21-year-old man on April 8, 2021 and a 12-year-old girl defiled by 25-year old man on January 21.

On January 31, a 15-year old girl was defiled by a 35-year-old man while on February 11, another 15-year-old was defiled by a 24-year-old man.

On March 26, a 15-year-old girl was defiled by a 24-year-old man and on diverse dates between February and April, a 15-year-old girl was defiled by a 25-year-old man.

The police boss told the Nation that all the cases are in court.

Butere police commander Alexander Makau said one defilement case was reported though the number could be higher.

“We have launched patrols with the assistance of Nyumba Kumi officials,” Mr Makau said.

In Lugari, police boss Bernard Ngungu said the victims of rape are aged 13 to 17.

Kakamega County Children’s Services Coordinator Richard Masika said defilement cases have gone up, especially in Malava, Shinyalu, Ikolomani and Lurambi sub-counties.

Mr Masika said delayed justice for victims encourages defilement. He appealed to the government to establish more juvenile remand homes, child protection units and rescue centres.

He also appealed to the government to establish more children’s courts in the county to help speed such cases.

“Most Kakamega residents cannot access the courts in Mumias, Butere, Malava and Kakamega Central. The court are at times overwhelmed or too far from the victims,” he said.  

Reported by George Odiwuor, Ian Byron, Vitalis Kimutai, Shaban Makokha, Elizabeth Ojina