Parents in hot soup for marrying off underage daughter to matatu driver
19 January 2016, 16:55
Nyahururu - Education Stakeholders in Laikipia west sub-County are demanding the arrest of parents who allegedly received KES 20 000 from a matatu driver as dowry payment to marry off their 16-year-old girl.
The couple forced the form two student at Limunga Secondary School in Laikipia County to drop out of school and get married to the local matatu driver.
According to the school principal, Njoroge Mutoru, the girl did not report back to school early this month when schools reopened, forcing him to inquire the reasons from the girl’s parents.
“I requested to meet with the parents and when the mother came to my office, she confirmed that the minor had moved out of her home to get married. She even confirmed to me that she had received a small 'token' as part of the dowry,” he said.
Mutoru noted that efforts to have the parents and the alleged husband arrested have been futile even after the issue was reported to the local chief three weeks ago.
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“It is disturbing to see this young girl getting married instead of continuing with her education. I believe the parents too are to blame and hence action has to be taken,” he said.
The principal noted that this is the third case since the beginning of the year adding that last year only the school lost at least 18 girls as a result of early pregnancies a thing he attributed to parents failing to take their responsibilities.
“Many parents are failing to take their responsibility of providing motivation to their children hence making them not to realize the need for education,” said Mutoru.
Speaking at the same time, Laikipia Maendeleo ya Wanawake vice chairperson Irene Wacuka urged the local administration and other stakeholders to intervene in order to reduce the incidences.
“The matter is now getting out of hand since we cannot have three students from the same school dropping out of school to get married and yet we have the government in place. It is now time that action is taken,” she said.
She noted that school dropout was a major challenge in the region and appealed to members of the public to volunteer information on those impregnating and marrying schoolgirls for legal action to be taken against them.
Contacted on telephone, Laikipia west deputy County commissioner, Wilfred Kinyua confirmed that the incident had been reported and would take action.
“We are working together with the children’s department to make sure that the matter is resolved and the minor goes back to school. It is only a matter of time before we get the main suspects. The parents too have to explain,” he said.
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Elsewhere in Baringo County, leaders have decried the rising cases of young girls dropping out of school to get married.
Led by Baringo South MP Grace Kipchoim, they now want action to be taken to end the vice that last year led to about 100 girls dropping out of school to get married.
The MP called on the provincial administration to be on high alert and arrest the parents allowing their young girls to get married.
“I will not sit and watch as the education standards in the County heads to the dogs just because of these early marriages. It is now time that stiff action is taken on the perpetrators of this vice,” she said.
Speaking Tuesday at Kimoriot in her constituency, she regretted that some parents were marrying off their daughters so as to get livestock in return adding that this has to come to an end.
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