A SECTION OF LEADERS in Taita-Taveta County have raised the red flag over increasing cases of defilement and early pregnancies in schools which are partly responsible for declining education standards in the county.
As such tough measures are being proposed to deal with the vice.
Speaking at Buguta Primary School during events to mark the International literacy Day, Kasigau MCA Ibrahim Juma, Voi DEO Kennnedy Machora and Mwatate deputy county commissioner Mshufaa Mwijuma warned that tough action would be taken against those perpetrating this heinous act that could irreparably affect the lives of children.
“The time has come when sex pests molesting children should be named, shamed and prosecuted. Tough legal action that will act as a deterrent should also be taken,” said Juma.
The MCA pointed out that there were pregnant primary school girls in Kasigau and wondered why the parents and teachers were keeping quite about this.
“Teachers and parents have an obligation of ensuring that pupils and school going children live up to morally acceptable standards, but when they keep mum on such vices, we can only suspect that they are accomplices in this problem,” he said.
Juma revealed that soon an operation would be launched to identify and expose all child defilers and sex pests in Kasigau, through combined efforts of local leaders and security officers.
Mr Machora warned teachers who engaged in love affairs with pupils that they would face tough disciplinary action.
“I am made to understand that there are teachers who are preying on pupils but they should know that their days are numbered,” warned Machora, adding that there were at least 5 pregnant girls in each Voi school.
Mwatate deputy county commissioner Mshufaa Mwijuma warned that incest and early pregnancies were a stumbling block to education in the area and measures must be put in place to halt the trend.
“Some mothers are known to shield their husbands who defile their own children and I am warning such mothers that once we identify them they shall face legal action. It is criminal for someone to shield a defiler who deserves to be arrested and prosecuted”, said Mwijuma.
She also warned against “family kangaroo courts” where such matters were solved, saying this denied justice to the victims who would remain stigmatized and traumatized for life.
“Matters of incest and defilement are criminal issues and should not be solved at the familty level. The law should be allowed to take its course” said the administrator.
Meanwhile, The Taita-Taveta County government has been asked to increase budgetary allocation for education to Sh 200m as part of the ways to address the falling education standards in the county.
Speaking during the county budget public participatory forum in Voi under the aegis of Media Focus on Africa, Dr Dishon Mgonda, a lecturer at the Taita-Taveta University College, raised concern that unless drastic steps were taken to ensure that bright students got scholarships and bursaries to pursue their studies, the education standards in the county would remain pathetic.
“Counties like Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu have sacrificed a huge chunk of their county budgets on education and it is time that Taita-Taveta took the cue and did the same in order to address the falling education standards. It’s a pity that our county continues to tail in national examinations while neighboring counties such as Makueni with worse learning environments continue to do well,” lamented the don.
Mr Mngoda at the same time called upon education stakeholders and leaders to combine efforts to improve education standards instead of duplicating projects with the same target.
“Our leaders should sit together and prioritise on projects instead of championing competing interests. It does not matter whether a project is under county government or CDF as long as it’s serving the common good,” said Mngoda.
Speaking during the meeting,Mr Dennis Sindano, a cleric from the Vision Victory Church, raised concern over the misuse of public funds in the county and called for more oversight by the public to stem misappropriation and wastage of public funds.
The cleric was irked by revelations that a classroom at Mrughua village was allegedly constructed at a cost of Sh 4.6 million which he said was unrealistic.
“I have supervised the construction of bigger buildings even for my church but there is no single time that kind of money has been spent on one room,” said Sindano.