Pregnancy claim that snatched a girl’s Army dream

Fredrick Onyango | NATION
Gladys Chepkechei Tarus, 20, from Kabarbarma village, Kabarnet Division, Baringo Central District, when she met the Parliamentary Committee on Defence over her dismissal from the Armed Forced Recruit Training School in Eldoret.

What you need to know:

  • Gladys Tarus was picked during recruitment at Kabarnet and joined military school only to be kicked out later

An invitation letter safely under her possession and a Service No. 109524 (Air force) procedurally allotted to her was enough confirmation to Ms Gladys Jepkechei Tarus and her family that her dream to join the military had finally come to pass.

Unknown to her at the time was that a final medical test would change her story, create a lot of controversy and attract national attention. All this has happened in the past fortnight.

She would today have been busy at the training school with the rest of her colleagues who were lucky to get a chance to join the highly sought after profession.

Instead, Ms Tarus is today running up and down trying to chase her dream which is being snatched right before her eyes.

Was she or was she not pregnant? This is the question that many Kenyans have been discussing since her story broke out. She was sent packing from the training school even before she could start living her dream.

She travelled all the way from Kabarbarma village in Kabarnet division, Baringo County to Eldoret and on Tuesday, she was in Nairobi at Parliament Buildings where she appeared before the committee on Defence and Foreign Relations to tell her story. Her hope was that the House would help her reclaim her dream.

“I still want to go back to the recruits’ training school. That is my dream,” Ms Tarus, who was accompanied by her brother and human rights activists, confidently told the parliamentary committee at the end of her evidence.

She tabled results of pregnancy tests she took at the Uasin Gishu District Hospital on the day she was asked to leave and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret on October 28 and the Kenyatta National Hospital where she also took an ultra sound scan.

Young men were barred

Ms Tarus who completed her secondary education in 2008 at Timboiwo Day Secondary school, was the only one who qualified from Kabarnet county following an exercise from which hundreds of young men were barred by recruiting officers, according to Mr Kipruto Kimosop, the Baringo Human Rights Consortium Coordinator.

And on Tuesday, Mr Ken Wafula, the executive director of the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in Eldoret claimed a Nation Media Group driver in Eldoret had overheard an ex-military officer say at a pub after watching the girl’s story on television “if only I knew my daughter was going to replace someone from a poor family, I wouldn’t have given Sh300,000”

The committee will be pursuing the new evidence to determine the bribery claims.

Up to now, Ms Tarus has taken six pregnancy tests and two ultra sound scans to determine whether she could have procured an abortion as has been claimed by some.

According to her, she had passed the physical tests and was the only woman picked. She received the invitation letter and was to report on October 25.

“I was very happy because this has always been my desire, I always wanted to be in the army,” she said.

She said her family members were also very happy as she was the first person to get a job in the homestead.

She left home with her brother on the 24th to spend the night in Eldoret before leaving very early the next morning for the recruits’ school where she arrived at 6am.

At the school, the same exercise that had been performed at the district was repeated. She said on Tuesday she started sensing all was not well after the rest of her Air force team members received their pregnancy test reports and she was left waiting until late in the evening.

The Recruiting Officer at the district Mr Stephen Radina, she said, is the one who later called her aside and told her the doctor had found her to be pregnant.

She vehemently disputed the claims and demanded a repeat test, but was asked to wait till the next day.

Her fate seemed to have been sealed as she was informed on the fateful day that she was pregnant and she had to go back home.


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