Alarm over defilers and rapists on the prowl

Sexual abuse, human trafficking concept with shadow edge in white tone
In the past few years courts in Kakamega have been grappling with the high number of defilement and rape cases.

Staff at court registries record sexual offences almost on a daily basis, with many cases yet to be concluded.

Others have been settled and the accused persons sentenced.

Despite the law pronouncing itself clearly on the minimum sentence of not less than 20 years and a maximum of life imprisonment for defilers, the offences continue unabated.

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According to records at the registry at the Kakamega Law Court, 137 cases were reported in 2016 and 87 in 2017.


Figures released by the Kenya Nation Bureau of Statistics in 2016 ranked Kakamega County as the third highest in sexual offences after Nairobi and Nakuru.

Eunice (not her real name), from Muhomo village in Lugari, said she would never forget August 9, 2015, when her uncle defiled her.

The Class Seven pupil who lives with her grandparents after the death of her father, said she had gone to visit her uncle when the person she trusted turned out to be her tormentor.

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Her uncle asked her to help him carry music instruments to church.

When they reached the church compound, her uncle told Eunice, who was then aged 14, to accompany him to a nearby cane plantation.

“I didn't suspect anything evil could happen since he was my uncle. He is a brother to my father, so I accompanied him. A few metres inside the plantation, he defiled me.

“He said he would slice me into pieces should I disclose the ordeal to anyone. I picked myself up and fled back to my grandfather. I had difficulty passing urine and thought I was pregnant. I decided to risk it all and open up to my grandparents,” she said.


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She was relieved when a clinical officer at Matete District Hospital told her she was not pregnant, but her urinary system had been affected.

The assailant, who is believed to have escaped to Nairobi, has never been apprehended even after the matter was reported to Matete Police Station.

Area village elder Patrick Mbao said efforts had been made to bring to book the girl's attacker, who went into hiding.

“We formed a local area advice council in every location chaired by the area chief to sensitise the community on children's rights and ways of accessing justice once such incidents occur. These acts should not be rampant anymore,” said Mr Mbao.

The areas hardest hit by defilement cases in Kakamega are Navakholo and Shinyalu sub-counties.

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Antony Luvisia, who works with Urafiki Initiative Development Organisation, said his organisation had helped to fast-track justice for defilement victims.

The non-governmental organisation, which works with IPAS Africa Alliance, has helped to address unsafe abortions and child trafficking.

“The biggest hurdle we face is the failure of parents to facilitate evidence-gathering. We have taken our campaigns to schools and churches to enlighten the society to live in a defilement-free society. We work closely with parents to facilitate justice for sexual attack victims,” said Mr Luvisia.

The Officer Commanding Kakamega Central Police Division (OCPD), Joseph Chebii, said his division alone, which covers Lurambi sub-county, recorded 57 cases in 2017. He described the number of cases as too high for any region.

The OCPD attributed the rise in the number of attacks to minors going for night vigils.

“I hear the locals refer to them as 'disco matangas'. Parents do not played their role and instead expose minors to defilers,” said Mr Chebii.

He said some parents sought out-of-court settlements for fear being exposed to public disgrace.


The western regional police commander, Moses Ombati, said withdrawing of cases was a major setback the prosecution of offenders.

Mr Ombati said several families made applications to withdraw the charges which, he explained, crippled the judicial procedure.

He cautioned parents against sending their children to shopping centres late in the evening.


“When you send your daughter to buy you airtime or food when it is dark and the path cuts across a sugar cane plantation, that puts her life at risk,” the regional boss added.

The resident judge, Ruth Sitati, said some parents fail to caution their children about such dangers, leaving the task to house helps and teachers.

“It is very rare for a parent to sit down and counsel minors on sexual matters. I urge parents, teachers, and religious leaders to speak about these evil activities,” said Justice Sitati.

In his visit to Kakamega on February 12, Chief Justice David Maraga said prisons were filled with sexual offenders.