WHY WAS EVERYONE OBLIVIOUS OF THE DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD?

The day passed devoid of any fanfare. The society in general stood aloof from the participants and advocates of the rights of the child who partook in any activities that somehow tried to celebrate and recognize the vitality of the children in our lives and the paramount need of ensuring that they are effectively protected.
Why do people depict these whimsical and erratic behaviours? One day the Mother’s Day is celebrated with immense buoyancy coupled with the never ending compliments that are posted on various social media platforms whereas the Day of the African Child was a “nothing day”.
Even with my sheer audacity to be an agitator, I cannot make any changes unilaterally and any changes made ought to be made collectively. It is not appropriate to love the mother overwhelmingly and entirely forget her offspring.
People cannot even engender the slightest modicum of sympathy or concern for the child. On the contrary, were it a celebration of some entity with flawed ideologies, the outcome would have been different.
Our infatuation has been premised on other unruly passions and we have lost sight of what matters most, the children. Children are much bespoke and the way we nurture them and the love we accord them while they are still young is very vital as it shapes them into the beings that they evolve into in the future. It is therefore imperative that we do more both as individuals and collectively as well to bring the matter to a better resolve.
It should not be normal for us to meet children in the streets and pass them by as if it’s a universally accepted norm that there ought to be children in the street of a certain specified town for it to pass the test as a fulfillment of certain procedural requirements.
The biggest actor could be the government. This is because it is well equipped with the requisite resources essential in implementing certain essential strategies. Non-Governmental Organizations have been very much on the forefront trying to make material changes in this area but there have been major handicaps majorly being the lack of funding.
The advocating pertaining to gay rights is a concept that has resonated worldwide. All this has occurred while the child has been suffering needlessly. I do not imply that gay people are lesser in any way hence their rights should be secondary, what I mean is that we have certain standards, roles and guidelines that govern us not necessarily legal but also moral that we have decided to negate entirely hence focussing on matters that should not be prioritized.
There is no one defined approach to reconcile our interests hence what ought to happen is for there to be much more awareness and for the government to make this area one of its major priorities. This will include more steps taken to rid our streets of any children and for the general empowerment of the children in many other aspects. To avoid any further regurgitation, the point is that we ought to do more.

CHILD CUSTODY AND MAINTENANCE: A CASE OF TWO TALES AND THE LEGAL IMPERATIVES.

Child Custody and Maintenance
The legal staff at Action for Children in Conflict, Kenya seeks to handle mediation between separated parents for the benefit of the children sired within that union. In 3 out of 5 cases, both parties are willing to take part in the process with the best interests of the child influencing their commitment. However, in the remaining two cases, one party, and it is the man in 98% of the cases, will usually fail to honor the call for mediation.
The Kenyan legal system has witnessed quite a number of landmark rulings on family matters to do with custody and maintenance of children. In spite of this, lack of awareness and the fear of the stereotypical complex nature of the courts intimidate individuals who might wish to pursue the court process. This is no exception to Thika Town where most of the clients hail from. A recent survey of the education level for the clients indicates an average of Form Two high school dropouts. This, perhaps, explains the failure to seek the legal channel. Further and perhaps more worryingly is the patriarchal society that we live in, even if we fail to acknowledge the situation. The man will therefore resort to using threats and other blackmailing tactics in order to dissuade the mother of their child (ren) from taking further action.
Some of the considerations that the courts will consider as best interests of the child include:
• Wishes of the child (if old enough to capably express a reasonable preference);
• Mental and physical health of the parents;
• If a child has special needs, how does each parent take care of those needs;
• Religion and/or cultural considerations;
• Need for continuation of stable home environment;
• Other children whose custody is relevant to this child’s custody arrangement;
• Support and opportunity for interaction with members of extended family of either parent such as grandparents;
• Interaction and interrelationship with other members of household;
• Adjustment to school and community;
• Age and sex of child;
• Is there a pattern of domestic violence in the home; Parental use of excessive discipline or emotional abuse;
• Evidence of parental drug, alcohol or child/sex abuse.
It is the duty of both parents to mutually contribute towards the welfare of the child. It is even better if the mediation processes are fruitful. We however acknowledge that this cannot always be the case and therefore the need for the legal process. The court’s decision will be final and will analyze the circumstances in order to reach to a conclusion. The problem and major challenge still lies in trying to convince the separated couples to seek legal help in the event that mediation has failed. Both parties have the right to be heard and the responsibilities are to be borne by both in a manner that is fair and just irrespective of whether they cohabit together or not.

IS CASTRATION OF RAPISTS FEASIBLE AND PRACTICAL OR IS IT A PLOY TO DELUDE GULLIBLE COMMUNITY ACTORS?

Unlawful sexual intercourse without the consent of the victim has rampantly and notoriously been on the rise in the recent years in numerous places. Just the other day in Murang’a County a girl, Martha Wanjiku was found dead in a maize plantation. She did not deserve such a traumatizing death by any stretch of the imagination.
Why should a person rape another? Primarily the root of this problem is strong sexual urge and drive that may be as a result of a couple of factors .In Murang’a county for instance, the lack of employment is easily recognizable and manifest as you walk around the town and the suburbs .This essentially leads or heightens the levels of drug abuse and alcoholism among the youths which vastly impacts the life of the individuals in a socio-economic aspect. This eventually leads to the outburst of social vices rape included. As they say an idle mind is the devils workshop.
Marriages in the villages are going downhill. Men are adamant and very obstinate that they won’t support their spouses and children financially leading to break ups and divorces hence infidelity and pervasion. They opt to spend the few coins they earn on cheap, locally brewed liquor than on their families. Marital conflicts and break ups directly culminate to rape due to lack of conjugal benefits that are as a direct result of marital unions.
To make it worse, it is the young females in society who are most vulnerable to defilement and rape. This is because they are weak and devoid of any means of defending themselves thus rendering them very susceptible.
Looking into cases involving rape, the punishment laid upon the culprits has more often than not been unreasonable .Recently in western Kenya, a gang group held criminally liable for rape ,were punished by being made to slash grass .It was only after residents backed up by various civil society groups protested that they were convicted for their crimes.
In the Murang’a County Assembly, a bill has been tabled to castrate men who are found to be culpable or guilty of rape. Is this a practical remedy? Will it deter others from engaging or duly refraining themselves from this crime of rape?
Castration is a crude mode of enhancing deterrence. It does not resonate well with the rest of the country and with the outside world. It is not a universally accepted practice hence it is fundamentally flawed. This is because it also violates various or several constitutional and human rights instruments. It negates on important constitutional requirements hence it is not feasible to punish one vice with another.
Murang’a County should be looking to table much better bills that can be employed to prosecute all the perpetrators of this crime. This also involves involvement of other stakeholders who can aid to bring this vice to a halt. Enhanced coordination and interplays between various agencies can be employed to deter others from engaging in this crime.
This ranges from police officers, investigators and the civil society. There should also be various whistle blowing mechanisms created in order to ensure that there are ample detections of potential cases of rape prior to their actual happening.
Murang’a County should also be looking into the creation of much more employment opportunities to restrict or limit idleness hence indirectly curtail the instances of rape. Much more stricter or harsh penalties should be placed on the people found consuming alcohol and other drugs beyond a certain level as defined by NACADA. This will enhance sobriety and increase accountability of the people and their immediate actions.