KNA Kangaroo court mediation orchestrated by chiefs and village headmen is suppressing defilement and rape victims’ voices in their quest for justice in Kitui, says County Gender Executive Hellenah Kitheka.
Kitheka called on Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i and the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to crack the whip against errant chiefs and their assistants to ensure rape and defilement perpetrators are prosecuted in a court of law.
Speaking on Tuesday after meeting victims and their parents in her Kitui office, the Kitheka said that all cases of rape and defilement should be handled professionally, procure water tight evidence and ensure convictions are determined.
She dismissed the Kangaroo court mediators comprising of chiefs and village elders who use unorthodox procedures to extract information from victims that is bent to exonerating their abusers.
“These proceedings are done in public without any care about the lifetime stigma the victims endure and their right to privacy,” said Kitheka.
The Gender Executive decried rising cases of rape and defilement adding that some are not reported as the locals prefer village Kangaroo court’s mediation.
Kitheka said that retrogressive cultural practices will not be tolerated to interfere with the livelihoods of the school going minors adding that “Such victims endure despicable trauma throughout their lives since they live with their childhood perpetrators.”
She disclosed that chiefs and their assistants are abetting mediation over rape, incest or defilement cases in the county thus perpetrators do not get deterred from the vice.
The Executive lamented that rape cases are spiraling each day adding that majority of the perpetrators are fathers or close family relatives adding that it’s criminal to meditate over such cases and culpable chiefs should face the law.
Eunice Kithome, whose nine year old daughter was defiled and killed in cold blood in 2016, is crying for justice since the suspect was released without trial.
“We have never been summoned to court as witnesses since the arrest of the perpetrator, who is walking free, we demand justice for our daughter,” said Kithome.
However, in a rejoinder, Kitui Director of Public Prosecutions Bonny Okemwa said that the case will be heard at the Court of Appeal.
Kitui County Kituo Cha Sheria Coordinator Roberto Nyamai admonished chiefs for shielding suspects involved in rape and defilement cases through fines at the village levels which in turn fuels this vice.
Nyamai said that this scenario is precipitated by incessant dissuasion by emissaries sent by perpetrators to subvert justice by ignoring government arbitration agencies in a bid to allow the intervention of kangaroo courts moderated by the elders to determine the matter.
“Rape or defilement is a criminal case. There is an outcry of these cases in Kitui County. We plead with the ODPP to ensure proper investigations to ensure that suspects are prosecuted,” said the Human Rights Activist.
Nyamai noted that the police are to blame for the collapse of these defilement and rape cases because some are compromised to water down the evidence adduced before court.
On his part, Josephat Kasina of FIDA regretted that most cases are lost due to lack of witnesses for fear of intimidation
“ I propose the creation of the village Ombudsman to solve simmering gender based violence cases. Similarly, community elders should devise new methods to combat incest cases through counselling,” said Kasina.