Conduct sober debate on age of consent

In ruling that the country should consider lowering the age of consent for sex, judges Roselyn Nambuye, Daniel Musinga and Patrick Kiage opened a can of worms.

Yet that ruling was made professionally after considering a case in which a man was sentenced to a 15-year jail term for impregnating a 17-year-old girl.

The judges acknowledged that many men are serving jail terms for having had sex with girls who appeared older than their actual ages, or willingly consented to the act.

However, the debate that followed this proposal has been anything but objective. In most cases, emotions, rather than reason, have run high. In the end, all we hear is a cacophony.

Lowering the age of consent to 16 years from the current 18 years is viewed by many as a deliberate attempt to expose girls to sexual predators and other ills that stand to negatively impact their futures.

To others, it is a move to protect men, but more so boys serving jail terms for having had sex with minors, even where all parties involved are minors.

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Both opponents and proponents have cogent arguments that recrimination, name calling and threats will not solve.

Even as we acknowledge that girls could be at a greater disadvantage were the age of consent to be lowered, this issue should be sorted out through sober debate.

The judges' ruling was made from a legal standpoint, but there are other considerations, including social, educational and cultural, to be factored in.

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age of consentRoselyn Nambuye