21 September 2012

Kenya: Underage Marriages On the Rise in Mbeere

Photo: Unicef
Child marriage in Kenya.

Mbeere South district children's office has expressed concern at the high number of early marriages by miraa traders. Children's officer Grace Nyawira said girls aged between 14-17 years in the region are being married off by young rich miraa traders.

Speaking at Kiritiri market during this year's celebrations to mark Compassion International Child Advocacy Day, Nyawira said most of the girls involved in such marriages are either orphans, living with a single parent or in unstable families.

She said the girls are forced by challenges of the high cost of living to get married noting that her office has rescued tens of schoolgoing girls from early marriages. Nyawira said the trend is growing at an alarming rate adding that other cases go unreported. She regretted that most of those marriages do not last since they are money and luxury-based.

Nyawira expressed disappointment that most of the incidents usually come to the fore through revelation by chiefs after getting wind about them. Nyawira called on all stakeholders to work closely with her office and other government offices to address the trend arguing that if not addressed, it may greatly affect the area's development.

Mean while the local probation office said during the event that it's recording many incidents of attempted suicides, defilement and abortion cases amongst teenagers. Probation officer Robert Mbuthia revealed that his department has placed a 17-year old form three pregnant student in a rehabilitation center after she attempted to take her life after her 24-year old lover jilted her.

He said the student had taken an over-dose of a drug in an attempt to commit suicide but was rescued and rushed to hospital. Mbuthia said the man who impregnated the girl will be charged with defilement. Over 700 orphaned and vulnerable children who are being supported in Rwika, Kirima and Mayuri centers participated in the event.

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