Official accuses parents of neglecting children

Published on East African Standard Here

By Linah Benyawa

Parents have been blamed for the alarming cases of child abuse in Coast Province.

Coast Provincial Children Officer Maurice Tsuma said some parents did not take the education of their children seriously and instead marry them off to old men.

“The rate of child abuse at the Coast is alarming and this is contributed by parents who have neglected their children,” said Mr Tsuma.

He said school going children of between 12 and 17 years were affected, as most of them engage in early sex. “Most of the dry parts of Kinango, Msambweni and Kwale districts are the most affected areas where parents marry off their children to old men,” he added.

Cultural beliefs

Tsuma added that cultural beliefs in some areas also contributed to the vice.

“Some cultural beliefs have contributed to the abuse. Some cultures do not see the importance of educating a girl. That is why they marry them off,” he said. He cited poverty as another contributing factor, arguing lack of basic essentials had forced children to engage in sexual activities in exchange for money.

He, however, said his office was in consultation with the school management to allow children from poor families to continue with studies.

“We are asking school administrations to allow such children to learn if it is established that the parents are poor. This would defy early marriages and sexual practices,” he said.

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