Justice denied? A tribal court fines a defilement suspect a cow and then frees him

Police and local elders are in a spot for trying to stifle a defilement case against a teacher in a Kilifi village.

Reports from local activists indicate two elders in Soyosoyo village in Ngerenya location of Kilifi North have received a heifer worth Sh30,000 from the suspect so as not to pursue justice for a ten-year-old girl he violated.

The alleged defilement occurred on June 6 but has not been reported to the police. Instead, local elders are said to have attempted to solve it through traditional mediation and restitution.

The grandmother convened a meeting of traditional elders to arbitrate the matter. The perpetrator was invited and during this parley, the suspect was ordered to pay a cow. This decision has not gone down well with local activists.

Speaking to Saturday Standard on phone, Mrs Christine Mwagandi, an official at the school where the girl learns, said she was informed of the incident by the head teacher who had received the report from the victim’s grandmother.

“He called on Tuesday at 8pm and informed me that a teacher had defiled the minor, who together with other pupils reported the matter to her grandmother,” Ms Mwagandi said.

The victim narrated how the suspect asked her friends to wait for her as he went to buy her sweets.

“He held my hand but we did not reach the shop because he pulled me into a thicket. I started screaming and even tried to escape but he pulled me back and raped me,” she said.

Teacher sacked

After the act, the girl fled from the bushes and found her schoolmates waiting by the roadside.

“She told them that the teacher had defiled her and they all went to report to her grandmother,” Mwagandi said. She said the teacher has since been sacked.

However, Saturday Standard has established that the teacher has returned to the school.

“It was very wrong for him to abuse a child since he is entrusted with children. The victim must get justice while the suspect must face the law,” Ms Mwagandi said.

A resident who sought anonymity said the perpetrator gave out a full grade heifer immediately but it was not clear when the village court sat.

“We received reports and started following up on the matter without the knowledge of the families and established that they had settled on a heifer so the case could not proceed to the court. The cow is there at the victim’s family home and the perpetrator is free. We have alerted the police,” the resident said.

Efforts to reach Ngerenya chief Lennox Baraka on phone were futile.

Kilifi OCPD Alexander Makau said they are following up on the matter which has since been reported to the police at Kilifi.

“We are going to bring the suspect and those trying to defeat justice to book,” Makau said.