Haki Clubs have been established in Ganze, Kilifi County to create awareness on the rights of children following a research conducted by a non-governmental organization last year where eight people out of 10 tended to believe that “defilement is not a crime”.
Kwetu Training Centre Organization operating in the area in collaboration with Ganze Area Advisory Council, carried out interviews with hundreds of residents who suggested that defilement cases should be dealt with at the grassroots levels where the two parties concerned strike consensus and resolve the matter.
“Law courts in Kilifi have difficulties in getting support in terms of evidence as the complainants of defiled children fail to cooperate with the justice system. Other relevant pieces of evidence including P3 forms which are filled in Kilifi are not done in time as parents of the defiled children also fail to support and speed up the process,” said Mercy Mbogo, who is the Project Manager of the organization.
She said at least three defilement cases out of 10 that are taken to Kilifi courts get concluded in time and the culprits sentenced while the remaining seven take too long and get dismissed due to lack of evidence.
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Mbogo said the establishment of 50 Haki clubs piloted in schools last year with many more others expected to be started this year will give a chance to the children to speak openly before their parents on their rights to education, health and choice of life.
Among the piloted schools are Bamba, Chapungu, Milore and Mwahera where cases of defilements have been on the increase in the past.
Ganze Sub-County Commissioner, Richard Karani, dispelled views of the local residents on issues of defilements, warning that though many cases are never reported to the relevant authorities, stern action will be taken against chiefs and their Assistants who fail to report such cases.
“We have administrators at the grassroots level who should not hesitate to take action by reporting both parents of victims of defilement and the suspects for action to be taken. Handling such cases at the grassroots means denying justice to the children”, he noted.
Chairing the area Advisory Council at the Kwetu Training Centre in Ganze, Karani said cases of murder, defilement and rape must not be compromised but taken to the relevant bodies for action.
He warned Chiefs, their Assistants and village elders in the area against allowing ‘kangaroo courts’ in their jurisdictions.