Administrator raises concern over defilement cases in Kericho

Kericho County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo has raised concern over rising cases of sexual assault of children and women in the region.

Kitiyo said cases of defilement and rape are on the rise despite concerted efforts to eradicate the vice.

The county commissioner regretted that many families opt to settle such cases out of court thus denying the victims justice.

"There should be no plea bargaining or diversion on sexual offenses. I know there are too many kipgaa (traditional) ways of resolving such issues here but if we do this we shall be denying these children their constitutional right, let us condemn this vice and instead act in the best interest of children,” he said.

Kitiyo urged parents and guardians of affected children to report such cases to relevant authorities to ensure justice.

"Lawyers offer free services to victims and so we are asking parents not to shy away from moving to court and have the perpetrators face the law," he said.

He urged the public to be on the lookout for defilement cases saying they expose children to vulnerability if "wrapped under the carpet."

Kitiyo warned sex predators of stern action and assured that security agents are committed to protect minors from sexual abuse.

"Once a defilement case has been reported to police, it becomes a state case and cannot be withdrawn. We are aware of the rising number of defilement cases in villages and we will continue to take stern action against perpetrators of the vice,” he said.

The administrator directed his juniors and their assistants in all six sub-counties to carry out thorough investigation, record and hand in a report within two weeks about cases of child abuse and defilement and teenage pregnancies.

Kitiyo ordered the officers to identify the names of victims, ages, schools and the names of the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

He said there was a conspiracy of silence right from school-going children and perpetrators of defilement as justice is denied through 'local courts.'

Kitiyo said that once the report on sexual offense reaches his office, it will be handed over to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to commence investigations and have perpetrators arrested and prosecuted.

According to the Kericho County Gender Officer Beatrice Chebet Rotich, in a report for the State Department for Gender and Affirmative Action for 2022, a total of 653 girls aged between 10 and 14 were impregnated and over 5,240 cases of pregnancy recorded among girls aged between 15-19.