Kangaroo village courts to blame for rising defilement cases in Nandi
Thursday November 16, 2023
KNA by Geoffrey Satia
Traditional Kipkaa Kangaroo courts approach has been blamed for the increase of defilement cases in Nandi County, Kipkaa among the Nandi is where a case is handled locally by the village elders in total disregard of the prescribed procedure of reporting cases to the police and the courts.
Nandi County Commissioner Carolyne Mueni told the visiting Principal Secretary for Correctional Services Salome Muhia that the Kipkaa system had denied justice to many defiled young girl children, even as the predators enjoyed undeserved freedom in the villages.
Mueni regretted that successful completion of defilement cases in Nandi courts had been largely frustrated by Kipkaa village elder’s court that convinces the offended family to withdraw the case from the official judicial system and handle it locally.
“It is a very secretive council of village elders responsible frustrating the formal procedure of handling defilement and rape by asking the offenders to pay a prescribed fine where they normally take lions share,” Mueni told PS and her entourage, when she paid courtesy call at her office at the County Headquarters in Kapsabet town.
The county commissioner revealed that reported and unreported defilement cases in the county had reached an alarming level, which calls for immediate action that involves all key players.
While responding, Muhia said the government will consider many approaches that will ensure the defiled, raped or victims of Gender Based Violence get justice.
“We’ll even consider proposing that women sit in the Kipkaa village council so that victims also get the much deserved justice,” the PS proposed.
However, Muhia said the Children’s Act should be in position to protect children from all forms of harassment and violence including defilement at the village levels.
The PS said chiefs will have a program of talking to the offenders in prisons so that they live a completely changed life once they are out of prisons.
She said the program is aimed at having better and reformed citizens after serving prison sentences, capable of counseling other potential offenders in their villages.
The PS was on familiarization tour of the Kapsabet Prisons and the county Probation Office.
She said the department was deeply concerned with congestion witnessed at Male Prison in Kapsabet Prisons which has a capacity of 200 prisoners, against the current 350 inmates, half of them being remandees.
The PS challenged the judiciary to fast-track hearing of cases to reduce congestion being witnessed in various prisons across the country.
Muhia was accompanied by Commissioner General of Prisons John Warioba, Secretary Probation and After Care Services Dr. Christine Obondi and other senior government officers.