"Justice for Liz" campaign on

Children from Busia Airstrip Primary School present carton boxes with 1.2million signatures from people world wide who are demanding justice for children. [Photo: Jane Cherotich]

Human rights organisations and children's rights crusaders on Monday participated in a peaceful street march in Busia as part of the "Justice For Liz" campaign, the 16-year-old Busia girl who was gang-raped by six men, violently attacked and left for dead in Tingolo, Butula, mid last year.

Representatives from Equality Now, Coalition on Violence Against Women (Covaw) and Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme (Reep) together with area residents later called on County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru at his office seeking answers concerning the alarming rate of child defilement cases in Busia County.

Mary Makokha, Reep director and founder, said child defilement cases in the county were very many and that they had received 1,600 cases, with the youngest involving a six-month-old infant.

"We also have 60 cases of sodomy and are coming here to say these children need justice. The whole world is also saying no to increased child defilement cases in Busia and here are 1.2 million signatures from people around the world calling for justice for children who have been sexually abused," Makokha told the county commissioner.

Mr Nakoru received the petition and assured the group that the Government had put in place mechanisms to ensure children are protected.

"We are committed, together with other stakeholders, to ensure that these cases are addressed and those responsible are brought to book. Our children need protection and this has to start with the parents," he said.

Joint effort

Nakoru said the Government was willing to work with the county administration, local leaders, civil rights groups and other stakeholders to ensure that the issue was addressed.

"It is our duty as the Government and other stakeholders to work together as a team. We must each seek to get to the root of this problem and can only do so if we share information. We are committed to ensuring that both the girl and boy child are protected from such atrocities," he said.

Nakoru urged residents to re-examine some aspects of their culture that could be allowing the vice to thrive.

Meanwhile, a case involving a man who impersonated a medical officer was yesterday mentioned at the Butere law courts in Kakamega County in the absence of the accused person, Japheth Ochieng.

The accused's wife appeared before Resident Magistrate Maureen Shimenga on his behalf, saying he was admitted at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu. The case was adjourned to August 19 following the wife's successful plea.

Ochieng was first arraigned in court on April 11 this year charged with pretending to be a medical officer from the Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board based in Nairobi.