Parents arrested for consenting to the marriage of underage children
09 January 2015, 17:03
Migori - Police in Migori County are holding two parents over accusation of consenting to an illegal marriage between their underage children.
David Mwingi, father of a 16-year-old boy and Evance Andita, father of a 14 year-old girl, were arrested by the local chief after the secret union between their children leaked out following a quarrel over dowry.
The two parents live at Oruba estate within Migori town and were picked up from their homes by the area chief over the illegal vow and taken to Migori police station where they were locked up in cells pending appearance in court.
The Oruba location chief, Jared Abila, said he became aware of the secretive marriage between the primary school children after the parents differed over the number of animals supposed to be paid as dowry from the boy’s family.
The family of the Standard six pupil was to pay three cows as bride price to the standard six girl's family.
However, things turned sour after the groom’s parents reneged on an earlier agreement and failed to hand over the animals in the stipulated time, sparking a bitter disagreement between the parties.
Chief Abila said that the two minors had eloped for weeks after schools closed for December holidays before their parents found them living together and blessed their illegal union.
“The fathers of the two minors had to agree to the union after the children refused to sever the relationship,” the administrator said.
The two minors disappeared upon getting wind last week that the chief was trailing them and until yesterday evening, only the girl had been traced while the whereabouts of the boy remain unknown to his families and relatives.
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“We have mounted a massive search for the boy so that the two can be taken back to school to continue with their education,” added Chief Abila.
Cases of underage children dropping out of school to marry have become rampant in the region especially within the Kuria community and religious leaders now fear for the plummeting enrolment rates in upper primary level.
“The transition rate from the lower primary to the upper primary level is reducing at an alarming rate and we urge parents to be keen about their children’s education and social life in order to avoid early marriages,” said pastor Nikanor Oyugi of Oruba PAG church.
Pastor Oyugi asked the government to slap the two parents with punitive punishment to be a lesson to other parents who may be tempted to bless illegal unions of their children.
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