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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Faces behind escalating defilement, incest and rape cases in Bungoma

When we were growing up, a teacher was a respectable figure in the society. I remember very well when I finished Form Four, my late grandmother together with my mother pursued me with no vain to go for a teaching course, simply because “a teacher was like a small god in the society who was worshipped by most parents”. It was noble profession, so to speak.
It is true teachers were “worshipped by parents” and others could go and a notch higher and buy a cockerel for a teacher in a bid to ensure he or she gets motivated in order to instill knowledge and sanity in their children both at primary and secondary school levels.
Ironically, in the 21st century, teachers have lost morals and are now a laughing stock of themselves in society and have now turned to the pupils they teach as tools of entertainment. Teachers are not alone in this dilemma, also family friends and relatives have also danced to the tune and of late Bungoma county is always making headlines both at the print and electronic media as a result of increasing number of rape, defilement, early pregnancies and forced marriages.
Issues of rape, defilement, sodomy among other ills was very rare to be reported in a learning institution especially a primary school. Even when pupils could have secret relationships in the school, if caught, were subjected to severe punishment ranging from digging a six feet terrace, slashing grass in the school compound, washing toilets alone for a whole week and more so, being caned thoroughly at the parade in front of other pupils and your parents present so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
Teachers used to hold regular guiding and counselling sessions for all aimed at ensuring that pupils only focus on their studies.
Even there was a teacher we nicknamed “omusakusa” (for he used to cane us thoroughly with the bark of a tree after dipping it in water to soften as a way of instilling discipline in us and could also come to see those who have sneaked to “disco matanga” whenever there was a funeral around the school so that when we report back the following day, he would descend on us like thunder and as if he was wrestling with a zombie.
Enough said, that was the teacher of those days yonder when “school was school” but come today, a digital generation with digital teachers, society has lost direction and now the teachers who should act as the second parents and guardians since they are ones who spent most of the time with the pupils, are now salivating for our beautiful daughters that are still at a tender age.
The ministry of Education partnered with Facod-a NGO that deals with sexual reproductive health and promotion of the girl child education in Bungoma, came up with an essay writing competition in a bid to unearth that big question that had for a long time remain unanswered on  “who was defiling our young school girls”.
Bob Chazima, Facod programmes officer told the press that they gave girls an opportunity to highlight and share the experience as pertaining to sexual reproductive health injustices in the nine subcounties of Bungoma county.
Chazima revealed that the schools that participated in the essay writing competition  were Matulo RC, Webuye ACK, Sitila Primary, Kimilili RC, Misikhu RC, Marakaru, Bokoli Primary, Sibanga, Tunya and Cheptais SDA primary schools respectively.
 He said the exercise saw 791 girls participate in the essay writing competition of which many injustices were reported.
“There were 75 cases of unsafe abortion where Marakaru Primary School had four, Matulo RC 22, Webuye ACK 15, Tunya Primary one, Sibanga nil, cheptais SDA two, Kimilili five, Sitila six, Bokoli 10 and Misikhu primary schools respectively. All these abortions were facilitated by the teachers who impregnated these pupils,” posed Chazima.
To make matters worse teachers were having sexual intercourse with the pupils without protection leading to unwanted pregnancies of which they fasttracked their termination on discoveries the pupils were expectant in a bid to avoid shame and dismissal from work by the Teachers Service Commission.
There were 114 cases of unwanted pregnancies that were reported with Marakaru RC recording 12, Matulo 10, Webuye ACK 28, Tunya Primary two, Sibanga eight, Cheptais SDA five, Kimilili nine, Sitila 15, Bokoli three and Misikhu RC primary school recorded 12 cases respectively.
Chazima further told the press that there were cases where pupils who tried to terminate their pregnancies ended up dying during or after procuring an abortion where 100 deaths were recorded with Marakaru RC having two, Matulo nine, Webuye ACK 20, Tunya nil, Sibanga five, Cheptais nine, Kimilili two, Sitila eight, Bokoli 12 and Misikhu RC 23 deaths respectively.
“From the essays we discovered that teachers were not only involved in the syndicate but also close relatives, for example, cousins, uncles, family friends, biological siblings and even biological fathers together with step parents who were also reported to have had sexual intercourse with the young primary school girls,” stated Chazima.
The Facod programmes officer told the press that there were 594 perpetrators who were well known to the victims (pupils), where Marakaru RC recorded 40, Matulo RC 36, Webuye ACK 51, Tunya primary 13, Sibanga primary 30, cheptais 70, Kimilili 122, Sitila 40, Bokoli 80 and Misikhu 112 perpetrators respectively.
Amazingly, out of the 594 known perpetrators of rape, sodomy, defilement among other ills, only 89 of them were arrested with Marakaru RC recording three, Matulo five, Webuye ACK 12, Tunya nil, Sibanga 5, Cheptais 6, Kimilili 12, Sitila primary 10, Bokoli 16 and Misikhu RC 20 perpetrators respectively.
According to Facod report, a total of 116 cases of incest were mentioned with Marakaru RC recording 16, Matulo RC 13, Webuye  ACK five, Tunya 3, Sibanga primary 6, Cheptais 10, Kimilili 20, Sitila primary 11, Bokoli 8 and Misikhu RC 22 cases.
Chazima lamented that parents of the defiled victims were “eating chicken” with the perpetrators whereby in the long run, they forced their small girls to get married to the said perpetrators thus shattering their desire of excelling academically.
He said that a total of 63 forced/early marriages were reported where Marakaru RC recorded nil, Matulo RC three, Webuye ACK nine, Tunya one, Sibanga three, Cheptais five, Kimilili six, Sitila 12, Bokoli nine and Misikhu RC 15 cases respectively.
According to Facod, unions representing teachers such as Knut, Kuppet and Kesha were blamed for protecting teachers whenever they are found with mistakes, a matter that complicates justice to be done to the minors.
During our investigations, we met Nekesa (not her real name), a Standard Six pupil aged 13 years from one of the schools and narrated how her class teacher had been having an affair with her for two years until she became pregnant.
Nekesa told the press that one day, the class teacher instructed her to take books for making into the staff room after evening preps.
She said the teacher gave her two chapatis and a soda and instructed her not to tell anybody of what transpired since she is the only bright pupil in the class and that is why the teacher bought the two chapatis and a soda as a way of motivating her.
“Immediately, my class teacher closed the staff room door and started touching my private parts and I was so terrified. I started crying and he stopped caressing me and gave me Sh20 so that “I don’t spill the beans,” narrated poor Nekesa
Nekesa further gave a graphically gave the episode of events of how she ended up giving in to the class teacher’s demands such that she ended up “sleeping with the class teacher” at his rented house in Kimilili town when she went to see him for tuition coaching during last August 2014 holidays, saying that little did she knew that the class teacher had ill motives against her.         
“After some time, it became normal as I was now used to having unprotected sex with my class teacher, keeping in mind I was assured afterwards, he would give me Sh200 as pocket money and had promised me to be adding me extra marks in his subject so that I become number one in Class Six the following term,” said Nekesa.
She also revealed that the class teacher promised to marry her after Class Eight and later became pregnant. Nekesa revealed that when the teacher learnt that she was pregnant; he came to see his mother and gave her Sh5,000 so as to keep the secret affair and protect the teacher’s job from TSC.
Nekesa further told the press that he gave her mothers another Sh3,000 which they used to terminate the pregnancy with the help of a traditional birth attendant.
“What always haunts me is the fact that my class teacher after making me pregnant and infecting with HIV/AIDS virus, also slept with my mother since my father works in Nairobi and rarely comes home and am afraid to tell him what happened,” said Nekesa after bursting into tears.
Generally, Bungoma has decayed morals, there is an incident that happened a month ago at Lwandanyi location within Sirisia constituency where a father of a university student forced the wife of his son to terminate the pregnancy he was carrying of two months and later eloped with her and moved to Lwakhakha border town and married her as his second wife.
The wrath of citizens was kindled against him and they set his homestead ablaze save for the police who came and rescued him from the imminent death as area residents were up in arms to stone him since “sleeping” with your son’s wife is a taboo and an abomination according to the Bukusu community traditions and norms.
Still at Lwandanyi location, a son to the deputy headteacher at Korosiandet Primary School who is known as Job Mwasame and who manages their private school that is adjacent to Korosiandet Primary was allegedly caught  with  pants down with a 13-year-old pupil in one of the classes at their private school.
The duo were coming from a neighbouring school where they had attended zonal games and on reaching the school, the teacher decided to satisfy his lust only to be caught with his pants down courtesy of a boyfriend to the girl who had been searching for her in vain.
It is alleged that her mother compromised with education officials in Bungoma west subcounty in a bid to ensure the matter is not reported to the TSC for appropriate actions to be taken.
Bungoma county commissioner Maalim Mohammed has been on the forefront fighting for the rights of the girl child with no vain.
Maalim while speaking to Lwandanyi residents during a security meeting warned Bungoma residents that they should desist from being compromised with perpetrators who defile their daughters and escape the full arm of the law.
“We have received reports that you parents are compromised with as little as Sh10,000 and you solve these issues at home with area leaders such as village elders, clansmen or even chiefs, be warned that you are just but doing injustice to your child and soon when  we  will crack the whip on you and don’t blame anybody,”  warned Maalim
Maalim castigated Bungoma men for their lust for young school girls, irrespective of their positions and warned them that the long hand of the law will soon catch up with them.
“We Somalis, we are always told that when you feel your body temperatures are high, you go back home and see your wife but not to lust for young school girls,” said Maalim.
When reached for comment, Bungoma county director of education issued a stern warning to all men with the vice of preying for underage girls by impregnating them that they will be dealt with as per the law prescribed.
Anyika said that the girls have a right to basic and compulsory education and will not allow men to misuse young school girls, adding that those who will be found guilty of the vice either defiling or impregnating a girl below the age of 11 years risks life imprisonment.
“Those between the ages of 12-15 years will be jailed for 20 years whereas those between the ages of 15-18 years will be jailed for 15 years respectively as per the Basic Education Act of 2010 and 2013 regulations,” said the educationist.
Anyika said that if a teacher is found to have defiled a school girl, he will be interdicted immediately pending investigations and determination of the case by a court of law, saying that if proven guilty, he risks a life imprisonment as per the law stipulated.
However, Anyika lamented that P3 forms at Bungoma County Referral Hospital are only issued on Thursday; a matter that complicates justice, adding that the services should be provided 24 hours in a bid not to tamper with evidence.
“If a school girl is defiled on Friday, will she have to wait for seven more days before she is issued with a P3 form when during this time she would have washed herself thus tampering with evidence,” posed Anyika.
The CDE also decried that when he tries to address defilement issues, he is told to keep quiet by leaders in elective positions, arguing that he taints the image of Bungoma county to the outside world but vowed to continue exposing the vice in order to protect the girl child.
He also directed the closure of Flowers Academy with immediate effect given the fact that it is not registered and that the school CEO was caught with a pupil from Korosiandet Primary School, adding that the CEO’s action cannot be condoned anymore.
Anyika also threatened to take severe action against the mother of the child and the CEO, who is the deputy head teacher of Korosiandet Primary School for defending a culprit and “eating chicken” with education officials to conceal evidence thus derailing justice to be done to the pupil and her family.
Echoing Annika’s comments, Kenya Secondary School Heads Association Chair Richard Sabwami told the press that as an association, they are determined to turn schools into centres of academic excellence thus bringing back the lost glory of Bungoma county as an academic giant.
Sabwami asked that headteachers and principals of all schools in Bungoma county to ensure that teachers do not defile school girls, saying that those who will be found guilty will meet automatic interdiction by the Teachers Service Commission and the prosecuted as per the law.
Sabwami who also doubles as the principal of Sikusi Secondary School appealed to teachers to ensure they observe the professional code of conduct and also understand the requirements of the constitution and also the Sexual Offences Act of 2006.
In a rejoinder, Bungoma county Knut secretary general Kenneth Ng’ang’a dismissed claims that they protect teachers who are found to have involved in defiling school girls and warned errant teachers who will be mentioned for engaging in the vice that the union will not protect any of them, adding that they ought to stick to their ethical code of conduct as stipulated by the TSC.
 Ng’ang’a added that the union works hand in hand with TSC to make sure teachers that have involved themselves in illicit sexual affairs with pupils they teach are brought to book, stating such teachers will carry their own cross and nobody from the union will come out to defend them unless the teachers have been unfairly implicated in the same.
He also indicated that cases of defilement which teachers are implicated in, have reduced especially in Bungoma where he represents.
“We are carrying out continuous educational programmes, guiding and counselling our teachers to see to it that they are not found in the saga of impregnating and defiling young school girls,” said Ng’ang’a.
Ng’ang’a also advised the parents to be on the look out as their children meet other people while on their way back home from school and cited an example where three families whose children were defiled by boda boda operators, noting that instead of parents reporting the matter to the police,  they were compromised by the perpetrators.
He also warned teachers employed in private schools who involve themselves in such activities that they will not be spared if found as they should too abide by TSC rules and regulations.
He appealed to the medical fraternity and the police not to give limits to the days of giving out P3 form to the victims of rape and defilement but to provide 24-hour-services in a bid to ensure justice is done to defiled victims as opposed to giving out P3 forms only on Thursdays at Bungoma County Referral hospital when evidence on victims will have been tampered with.