Cases of incest in Kaptembwa worrying stakeholders

Corporal Beth Kamau (left) a police officer attached to the Gender desk at Kaptembwa police station shares her experience at a community forum. Looking on, Commisioner Wilkister Vera (Right) and the Chair of Kaptembwa Community Policing Committee James Nyamweya.Photo: George Ngesa
Corporal Beth Kamau (left) a police officer attached to the Gender desk at Kaptembwa police station shares her experience at a community forum. Looking on, Commisioner Wilkister Vera (Right) and the Chair of Kaptembwa Community Policing Committee James Nyamweya.Photo: George Ngesa

It is the responsibility of parents to provide and protect their children among other responsibilities. It is therefore expected that a parent should shield his or her child from any possible danger if it is within his or her powers.

It is however sad to note that some parents are capable of putting their children in harms way. That is the experience of three girls from Kaptembwa, Nakuru town in Nakuru County.

When their mother got a job opportunity in Trans Nzoia county, she went with her two youngest sons and left her three girls with their father. This is expected to be normal because after all he is also their parent. The girls aged 14,13 and 8 years respectively shared a one-roomed house with their father as their mother tried to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, the father decided to do the unthinkable. For three months, from January 2017, the father defiled his daughters one after the other. The family shared the same room with two beds; one for the father and one for the girls. The room has no enough furniture so they had to seat on bed while eating.

Once they were done and the girls had gone to sleep, the father would pick one girl and defile then return her to bed. He would then pick the second one or even a third one and do the same.

Turning point

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The letter written by the eldest of the three daughters pleading with the father to stop defiling them.

This happened repeatedly until the eldest daughter was fed up. She wrote a heart breaking letter and gave it to their neighbor to take to the police. The letter which was written in Kiswahili read in part….“Father we plead with you to listen to our cry, we plead with you to stop destroying my sisters and I. We plead with you to stop your bad habit or else we will call our mother to report you or we will run away from home. We plead with you in the name of Jesus Christ……”

This letter was presented to Kaptembwa police station at the Gender Desk.

The police in charge of the Gender Desk, Corporal Beth Kamau took the children to Nairobi Women’s Hospital where they were treated and an arrest warrant issued for the man.

The girls are now in foster care and have been admitted in a different school. The eldest is a Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidate.

“I have been following the case to ensure that the girls get justice they deserve. Unfortunately their father ran away and we have not been able to arrest him. I however promise that I will not rest until we get him and put him behind bars.

This case is however not unique in Kaptembwa. Defilement, incest, rape and gang rape is very common in the area and sadly the cases are increasing as the days go by.

According to Corporal Kamau, they receive about five incest cases per day which is very worrying.

“Kaptembwa Police Station is in a slum with high rates of unemployment which leads to idleness and crime, illiteracy levels are very high, drugs and alcohol abuse, prostitution and child neglect,” she said adding that these factors have contributed greatly to the high number of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and general crime.

Corp. Kamau further explains that poverty which has led to families sharing a single room has also contributed greatly to sexual  activities and exposing children in the process.

Challenges

While addressing a community forum organized by Jamii Thabiti in partnership with AWC, the OCS Kaptembwa Police Station, Jane Thuita mentioned that they face many challenges trying to solve crime in the area.

“Solving VAWG cases is very complicated because of their sensitive nature. Many cases go unreported and some people also report to the area chief instead of police. Some cases also die along the way because witnesses disappear.” She said.

VAWG cases are also a challenge because like most parts of  Kenya, Nakuru has no rescue centers where they can keep the victim safe as the case continues. “At times the victims and witnesses are forced to relocate due to threats from the perpetrators then we are left with no witnesses.”

Corp. Beth also emphasizes that witness disappearance is a big challenge citing a VAWG case where most witnesses can not be traced and so she is the only remaining witness with a doctor.

James Nyamweya , the chair of Community Policing Committee-Kaptembwa, also shared how they have been working closely with the police to reduce the crime rate in the slum. Ratemo shared with the forum some of the cases they have been able to report to the police which would have otherwise go unreported. One of the cases is that of a 16 year old girl from Naivasha who was invited to Nakuru by the boyfriend. He later took her out at night and abandoned her in the streets. She tried to get help from  a bobaboda operator who took her to a place where she was gang raped by six men.

The lady was rescued by a member of Kaptembwa CPC who called other members and they took the lady to Nairobi Women’s Hospital .They then reported the matter to the police.

In order to reduce, and possibly end VAWG in Kaptembwa, Jamii Thabiti in Partnership with AWC  , Kaptembwa Police Station and Kaptembwa CPC formed a sub-committee which will work together to achieve this.

The sub-sub committee which represents the wards will then report their activities to the main committee and the police.