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Parents concerned as teachers turn into sex pests

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By RUTH MBULA
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By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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In November this year, a teacher accused of defiling a student at Moi Girls’ High School, Kamusinga, Bungoma County, was arrested after months on the run.

The teacher allegedly committed the offence in June and is said to have defiled a 14-year-old Form Two student after summoning her to his office.

After the incident came to light, the victim told journalists that the teacher made sexual advances towards her when she arrived.

“He told me he had missed me but I told him that the only relationship I would have with him was that of a teacher and a student,” the girl is reported to have said.

She claimed the man did not listen to her and that he forced himself on her.

This is just one of the baffling cases of teachers defiling their students in schools.

The trend is appalling, and is giving worry to parents who have bestowed a lot of trust on teachers.

As January approaches, many parents are concerned about the safety of their daughters at the hands of their teachers.

Last month, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said it had dismissed and deregistered 32 teachers over cases of defiling and impregnating primary school girls.

Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed maintains that TSC will continue to take action against teachers found culpable.

TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia asked managers of public and private institutions to be careful not to engage the sacked teachers.

“Of concern is that some of our headteachers and teachers into whose care these children are entrusted are complicit. The commission is taking this very seriously and those found guilty will be dealt with accordingly,” she said.

But even with the assurance from the government, questions linger on why people who are tasked with the responsibility of taking care of the learners are turning against them.

Apart from teachers, boda-boda riders, close relatives and other people well-known to the victims have been blamed for the menace.

It is a subject that many are being careful about, with those in authority keen to protect the responsible teachers from losing their jobs.

In Narok County, two primary school teachers have been interdicted for defiling their pupils.

Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Narok branch executive secretary Charles Ng’eno told Sunday Nation that most cases go unreported.

“In most incidents, there is a collusion between parents and culprits to settle the matter traditionally. Elders ensure such cases do not get to court, so as to secure the perpetrator’s job,” Mr Ng’eno said.

But this does not deter perpetrators from continuing with their evil deeds. In fact, others join in the act, knowing too well they will not face the law.

The Demographic Health Survey report found that Narok was leading nationally in teenage pregnancies, the rate being 40 percent.

“While majority of the cases are perpetrated by non-teachers, we cannot, however, rule out their involvement. We are still investigating more incidents,” Mr Ng’eno said, adding that the union will not protect any teacher found guilty.

He said teachers are like the second parents to children, and they will condemn by all means anyone engaging in sex with them.

In Kisii, a teacher from Gucha South has been interdicted. Kisii County Education Board chairman Henry Onderi says more cases are being investigated.

A case in which two teachers were busted in a lodging with two female pupils in Nyamache, Bobasi constituency, is still being investigated.

Nyamache police boss Japheth Mwirichia however said they are still hunting for the sex pests who went into hiding.

The teachers had taken the Kigochi pupils out for a sports competition to Nyabite Primary in Nyamache when they lured two of them to a lodging and defiled them.

A patron at a pub adjacent to the lodging raised the alarm.

Authorities say at least one occurrence is reported daily at major police stations in Kisii County. Most other incidents go unreported.

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In Bomet, the cases involve teachers employed by the various boards of management in institutions that have not been registered by the ministry of Education.

“In Bomet County, there are 33 day secondary schools which have not been registered and are being managed under the parent primary schools, with BOM teachers engaged to teach in the institutions,” Mr Dancel Kirui, a lawyer, said.

“In such schools, it is difficult to monitor and discipline the teachers involved in sexual exploitation of the female students. Most of those engaged are also college students and in some cases Form Four leavers.”

The most recent case in the county is that of Bukacha primary school deputy head teacher, who was two months ago arrested by members of the public after being caught red handed having sex with a class eight pupil.

He was busted at the home of the girl’s grandmother following a tip off from a member of the public who saw him tiptoeing to the home at 10pm as the elderly lady was away.

Mr Joseph Langat, a teacher at Chemakel Primary School in Cheplungu Sub-County, is battling a court case in which he has been accused of having sex with a female student at the school.

The teacher, who is serving an interdiction, has since appeared before a disciplinary committee at the Teachers Service Commission and a decision on the matter is pending.

In the same region, Mr Benjamin Langat, a teacher at Chebonjirai Primary School, has been charged in a Bomet court with impregnating a Form Two student at Chepalungu Girls Secondary School.The teacher has since been interdicted by the TSC.

At Ngererit Secondary School, Mr Kibet Korir was dismissed from service after being found guilty of having sex with three female students at the school in 2017.

Mr Korir appeared before the TSC Commissioners at a session held in Kericho County in September last year, which led to the dismissal after the girls adduced evidence before the team. He appealed but the dismissal was upheld.

Bomet leaders – Governor Joyce Laboso, Woman Representative Joyce Korir, Bomet East MP Beatrice Kones and Kuppet branch executive secretary Paul Kimetto – have called for the arrest and prosecution of those sexually exploiting underage girls

Dr Laboso said: “Those suspected of involvement in the teenage pregnancies should be arrested and prosecuted with a view to curbing sexual exploitation of the school-going children. Honestly, to imagine that a 14-year-old girl can sire a child at this time and age is beyond comprehension. It is a matter that cannot be wished away but must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

In Kilifi County, 13,624 teenage pregnancies were reported this year involving girls of between 15 -19 years with the majority of them dropping out, according to County Children’s Affairs Coordinator George Migosi.

Ms Emily Mwaringa, the Mombasa County Reproductive Health Coordinator, says 3,000 cases of teenage pregnancies were reported in the county in the last one year.

“Sadly, girls as young as 16 years old are married off for several reasons including poverty index and ignorance while others get pregnant after being introduced to drugs at a tender age,” said Ms Waringa.

Mr Edward Obwocha – the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers national secretary in charge of secondary schools – said that “much as the union does not condone cases of teachers having sexual relations with their students, most of the teachers had been condemned unheard”.

“Sadly, the system of investigations and hearing is skewed against the teachers, with most of the accused being condemned unheard,” he said.

And added: “We do not condone cases of teachers sexually exploiting girls as that is immoral. But, on the other hand, we hold the view that it is important to give teachers a fear hearing as in some cases you will find, upon investigations, that the accused has been set-up.”

Data from District Health Information system shows that 7,182 girls in Nairobi under 19 years of age early this year.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), teenage prevalence rate in Narok is 40 percent, Homa Bay has 33 percent, Samburu 26 percent and Migori and Kwale 24 percent.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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