I did not commit child-trafficking, Baringo pastor who rescued 16 girls from FGM says

I did not commit any child-trafficking offense man of God says after being accused of withholding 16 pokot girls who ran away from forceful Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) in Baringo County.

 

On Wednesday police arrested Pastor David Kimeu of African Inland Church (AIC) with his wife Judy Seguton alongside the teenage girls at Deaf and Blind rehabilitation centre in Kabarnet town.

 

“Children offenses are many so their case shall soon be established” Baringo North Criminal Investigation Officer Andolo Munga said adding that the two will be arraigned in court once they are through with the investigations.

 

The two told the media that they only offered their ‘good’ Samaritan service to rescue the girls from undergoing the female cut according to the rich pokot traditional culture.

 

“It is even impossible to accuse me of such serious crime like child trafficking when I brought the girls all the way over 200 kilometers away to such a government-owned rehabilitation center” Kimeu said.

 

He said the girl aged between 8 and 13 years were among 22 rescued in different dates between 2014 and 2017 at Kangiruru, Loyamoi, Embositit, Chepkirial, Akoret and Kongor villages.

 

He added that thousands of pokot girls were being hunted this August holiday to undergo FGM and later married off to earn the parents livestock as dowry.

 

Court ruling

 

The 16 girls were arraigned before Kabarnet law court on Wednesday, where the resident magistrate Viena Ambogo committed them to Chemolingot and Ghana children homes  back in Tiaty Sub-county.

 

The request was made by the county Coordinator for Children Services Otsom Omuse and Marigat Children officer Irene Maasai.

 

“The girls will receive care and protection in the above homes for the next one year pending their case determination” Ambogo said.

 

The case will be mentioned in the same court on 11 September while police have been ordered to arrest the parents and guardians of the girl to be charged with child neglect.

 

“The girls were among thousands of pokot girls being targeted for the cut this August holiday so I had to help them run away for safety so I chose Kabarnet deaf- blind being a public institution” Kimaru said.

 

According to him, after media expose about the stranded girls many well-wishers were calling in on humanitarian ground to support the girls get accessed to good health and education.

 

“In as much as I support the government move to assist the children but it should have courtesy with us instead of using child-trafficking as intimidation” Kimaru said calling upon the churches in Kenya to join him in prayers.

 

He said the girls  were just a fraction of the thousands of pokot girls being humiliated and forced to undergo traditional rituals before being married to old men in exchange of livestock for dowry in Tiaty Sub-county.

-Joseph Kangogo

FGM rescuer faces child-trafficking charges in Baringo

Good Samaritan faces child-trafficking charges after rescuing 22 teenage girls from undergoing forceful Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriage in Tiaty Sub-county Baringo County.

African Inland Churches (AIC) missionary pastor David Kimaru, 40, and his wife Judy, 34, were arrested and locked up with the underage school-going girls at Kabarnet on Wednesday.

“Already the handler of the children has committed an offense for not following the right procedure and they will have to be arraigned in court and face charges of child-trafficking” County Police Coordinator Smallets Munyanzi told Media in his office.

The girls were putting up temporarily at Kabarnet Deaf and Blind rehabilitation after being transported for safety by their rescuer on Sunday.

Munyanzi said the case is currently with Baringo Central OCPD Phillip Wambugu and once investigations are complete the culprits will be arraigned in court.

“I received a phone call on Tuesday evening about the young kids and I sent my officers immediately to the scene to assess the situation…of course the innocent children have got no mistake but whoever transported them should explain how they accessed from their parents and transported them this far” Munyazi said.

He further said police are looking for the parents of the girls to come and answer the charges of child neglect.

Pastor Kimaru said schools closed in August and he offered to evade the children from being forced by their parents and brothers in Tirioko ward in Tiaty Sub-county to undergo forceful female cut and later married off early.

“The children were being threatened by their parents’, so I saw it necessary according to the law to rescue and take them to school” he said.

The girl aged between 8 and 13 years were among 22 rescued in different dates between 2014 and 2017 at Kangiruru, Loyamoi, Embositit, Chepkirial, Akoret and Kongor villages.

“The girls were among thousands of pokot girls being targeted for the cut this August holiday so I had to help them run away for safety so I chose Kabarnet deaf- blind being a public institution” Kimaru.

According to him, after media expose about the stranded girls many well-wishers were calling in on humanitarian ground to support the girls get accessed to good health and education.

“In as much as I support the government move to assist the children but it should have courtesy with us instead of using child-trafficking as intimidation” Kimaru said calling upon the churches in Kenya to join him in prayers.

He said the girls were just a fraction of the thousands of pokot girls being humiliated and forced to undergo traditional rituals before being married to old men in exchange of livestock for dowry in Tiaty Sub-county.

-JOSEPH KANGOGO

‘Thirst for church’ forces Pokots to worship under trees in Baringo

Thirst for the ‘word of God’ without churches forces pokot residents in Tiaty Sub-County, Baringo County to seat on stones and worship outside under trees.

For many years Tiaty has been branded home of brazen armed bandits and cattle rustlers, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages, but today religion seems to infiltrate and act a game-changer.

“We have been worshiping outside here since the year 2002” Chepilat African Inland Church(AIC) pastor John Lokol said on Sunday.

The place is located a few kilometers off Loruk trading centre northwards of Baringo and Turkana borders.

It was around 10am when the Star stumbled on the jovial youthful worshipers and a few elders singing and praying outside under a seasonal acacia tree at Chepilat primary school grounds.

Among the worshipers were young breastfeeding mothers with their children who also braved through the choking sun to give a keen ear to the biblical sermons.

“The classrooms here at Chepilat primary are too small for the growing number of our church members so we decided to remove some desks and plastic chairs to worship under this acacia tree” pastor Lokol said.

The determined man of God who is also in-charge of two other neighbouring Katuwit and Kagir local churches, is optimistic that one day they will assemble some funds to build their own big church on their land outside the school compound.

Church elder Geoffrey Lokortepa said they had to end the service around midday to allow the faithful break for their homes early.

“I wish we had a better place to worship so we can spend more time planning our church programs well and even woe in more members,” he said.

-JOSEPH KANGOGO

 

Shock as 62-year old man commits suicide over sh10k cash transfer fraud

62-year old man from Isas village, Baringo North sub-county commits suicide after suspected woman-friend defrauded him of his sh10, 000 cash transfer money on Saturday.

Reportedly, the deceased David Seguton, who is physically challenged, decided to take his own life after attempts to convince the ‘fraudster’, from the same village, to return his money became futile.

“He used to send this woman to buy her local brew from the neighborhood because his own wife was not a partaker of alcohol” a neighbor David Komen said.

The woman, according to sources used to fraud the old man of the cash for the disabled people since he was put in the government scheme two years ago.

His wife, who seem mentally amiss was also overwhelmed with grieve and so could not speak to the media.

Komen said on the material day, the old man was in a relaxed mood when he was spotted taking breakfast as he does normally outside his house around 8.30 am.

Afterwards, he locked all the houses and handed the key to his wife before taking an animal-tethering rope and headed down to the farm.

“An hour later, while harvesting some beans in the farm his wife screamed upon setting eyes on the lifeless body of his husband hanging on a tree near their house” Komen said.

He said police were informed and arrived with their vehicle to ferry the body to Baringo Referral Hospital mortuary in Kabarnet town.

However, Bartolimo Location Chief Isaac Chemjor confirmed the incident saying police were still conducting investigation to ascertain the course of the sudden death.

“I will be able to get back to you once we find out the clear report from the ground” he said.

Elsewhere in Baringo Central Sub-county shock engulfs residents of Salawa village after a 79-year old man commits suicide by hanging himself under unclear circumstance.

The lifeless body of Chemjor Chebon was retrieved dangling on a noose inside his house around 8am in the morning.

“The old man was humble and he did not have any quarrel with anybody, to suspect it might have resulted in a dispute” A resident Philip Kurui said.

Police helped to transport the body to Baringo County Referral Hospital in Kabarnet town awaiting postmortem and burial today (Tuesday.

Baringo Central OCPD Philiph Wambugu confirmed the incident saying the deceased did not leave behind a suicide note.

“So we could not establish immediately what may have transpired before the old man decided to take his own life” Wambugu said.

He further urged the residents of Baringo to be sharing their plights with other people to avoid recurrence of such fatalities.

-Joseph Kangogo

Heartbreaking: Over 40,000 Baringo kids seat on stones under trees or modern classrooms

More than 40,000 Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) kids in Baringo still learn under poor condition despite efforts by County government to construct some modern classrooms.

Spot check by the Star shows that a number of the nursery school pupils at the 21st century still persevere the chocking sun as they learn outside under trees while seated on stones.

“My ECDE pupils are congested in one modern classroom constructed by the county government way back in 2014 but their major problem is still lack of desks so they are forced to arrange some stones to seat on” Riongo Primary school head teacher Collins Kesses told star on Thursday.

Similar situation occurs in among several others Kadokoi and Katuit primary schools in Tiaty Sub-county where the school head teachers said has forced many young kids to drop out of school.

“We had about 100 ECD children in 2015 but since then due to poor learning condition and cutoff school feeding programme a number of them opted quitting classes, until we are now remaining with only 30 kids” Kadokoi head Dorcas Yatich said.

She further said the mud-floor classroom was poorly constructed by the county in 2014, posing health risks to the children, adding that she is yet to receive the chairs and tables earmarked since then to be donated.

The county boasts a total of 1049 ECDE centres with a total of 46,446 learners, majority of them were forced to take their learning under the trees or the modern structures while seated on stones.

The worst hit sub-counties being Baringo North, Mogotio, Baringo South, and Tiaty.

County Education Executive Thomas Ole Lonongo’nop said it remains a wish of the county government to improve the quality of the ECD centres but he admitted the snail-pace blaming it on tiny budgetary allocation.

“Sh10million was allocated in 2016-2017 while another sh5million was budgeted in the current 2018-2019 to purchase furniture for both the learners and teachers” Lonongo’nop said

He said the county managed to construct only a total of 600 ECDE classrooms and they are now embarking on equipping them with learning materials, books, chairs and tables, “although progressively due to insufficient funds”.

Ole Lonongo’nop further said the sh15million funds allocation so far aided purchase of furniture to benefit paltry 3,980 ECD learners out of total 46,446 learners.

Speaking while handing over some furniture at Kapropita primary school in Baringo Central sub-county on Thursday, County Deputy Governor Jacob Chepkwony admitted myriad of challenges facing the county ECD department

Chepkwony said apart from poor learning condition the 1,776 nursery school teachers hired by the county government were crying low salary payment.

“We hope the ongoing talks of the council of governors and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) shall soon go through to enhance better pact for the teachers” He said.

He urged among the stakeholders the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to intervene to fast track the talks.

-JOSEPH KANGOGO

Father hospitalized after push to arrest his 9-year old daughter defiler failed

Double tragedy for depressed Baringo North father hospitalized after his push to have 24-year old suspect who allegedly defiled his 9-year old daughter hit the rocks.

Richard Barasel is currently nursing mental illness at Baringo Referral Hospital where he was admitted to on Wednesday night.

“He has history of cerebral malaria but may be due to the depression he is undergoing over defilement incident of his daughter could have resulted to his mental illness” Nurse in-charge said.

However, his in-law Felecie Barasel who takes care of him at the hospital said he developed the condition at home around 6pm.

“He started developing queer behavior of throwing himself on the ground while talking too much and cursing everyone who has blocked justice for his defiled daughter” She said.

Doctors said his condition is now stable after sedating him “as we keep monitoring his health condition”.

His daughter, standard three girl was defiled by ‘person known to her’ in a rural village in Baringo North Sub-county last Saturday.

While addressing media in Kabarnet town on Wednesday, area local chief said the suspect is yet to be handed an arrest warrant.

“Yes, he is still at home despite earlier push for his arrest… after going through the medical report, police in Kabartonjo found the young girl’s health on stable condition and became to reluctance to  arrest him” Chief said.

The suspect who dropped out of primary school two years ago is currently known for terrorize young girls in the village.

“I helped to arrest the suspect last year and handed to police over similar act he did to another minor, but the family intervened by requesting the matter be handled at home” Chief said adding that he has repeated it again.

-Joseph Kangogo

 

13-year old boy given heroic reception at Baringo IDP camp

13-year old receives heroic reception today at a dilapidated camp in Baringo County after winning second position during the National Primary Schools Sports Association (KPSSA).

Laban Lekuroito lives among over 800 victims of bandits’ attacks who fled the volatile Mukutani and were currently living at temporary Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp at Eldume in Baringo South Sub-County.

“He is our hero, despite the pressing challenges back at home, he beat the odds to win second in the highly competitive event” the celebration organizer Leonard Keis said on Tuesday.

He was welcomed with a calabash of fermented sour milk, a rare traditional ceremony preserved by Ilchamus pastoral community to recognize and celebrate a hero.

Lekuroito was the second best in 200meters race won by Victor Kiplimo from Kibwari Primary school during the National event that went down in Shanzu teachers college in Mombasa on Monday and Tuesday last week.

His parents Jackson (Father) and Mother Pauline Lekuroito are also living at the camp, although they suffer in the bondage of poverty after all their livestock were driven away by suspected armed pokot bandits.

“I curse the bandits” said Lekuroito urging the government to intervene faster and resettle them back to their Mukutani homes.

No shoes

Keis said after the boy was picked among the champions to represent Rift Valley at the Nationals, Lekuroito had no single pair of sports shoes.

“So we had to arrange for an urgent fund contribution at the IDP camp to support him by buying him a pair of shoe, a sweater and handed him some pocket money” he said.

Furthermore, he said the boy used to practice at the camp “so we were full of confidence that he will produce good results” Keis said.

The boy said he was well repapered and he is always confident and determined to shine both nationally and internally.

During the event, Rift Valley region was ranked first position followed by Nyanza and Western respectively.

Pathetic life

Lekuroito is among 35 Class eight candidates displaced from Mukutani primary school and were currently spending in the cold at Ol’Samburbur primary school.

“Because Eldume camp is far from school, we have decided to spend at school, when day’s lessons are over, we spread our bedding to sleep in the classrooms and we use our uniforms as the blankets” said Lekuroito.

He said they now suffer of cold weather due to ongoing heavy rains and floods always tore through the walls of the iron-sheet walled classrooms.

The school head teacher Jackson Lecher said the pupils survive with the small foodstuff donated recently by the government and well-wishers.

“The school has not been registered among those benefiting from the regular school feeding programme so we have to survive” He said adding that they were among 330 pupils who fled attacks back at Mukutani Primary.

Lecher said last year he had his 38 KCPE candidates sit for their national exams at Marigat primary school.

-Joseph Kangogo

Baringo 118-year old woman is allergic to alcohol, maybe secret to her long life

Since she stopped taking alcohol, Baringo County oldest woman became allergic to drunkards, as she celebrates her 118 birthday on Saturday.

Magdaline Kobilo Chebet who hails from Kabasis village in Baringo Central Sub-County, stopped partaking alcohol and she was baptized at the Roman Catholic church in 1952.

“She is now allergic to alcohol, she wipes her nose with handkerchief or bare hand if someone smelling alcohol moves closer to her,” said her 70-year old third born son Michael Chebet.

Kobilo was married to her late husband Chebet Korombori who passed on in 1999 aged 90 years old.

She has seven children, four sons and three daughters while first born Nicolas Chebet who passed on in 1977, was born in 1930.

Chebet told the media during a visit to her home on Tuesday that despite her old age, his entire mother’s 32 teeth are tact.

“She is strong and healthy, although due to the weakening jawbones she stopped chewing meat two years ago, but the meat is boiled and she takes the soup” said Chebet.

He said her favorite food is Ugali, indigenous vegetables and meat “we make sure her meal is ready and available at anytime.”

Again he said her weakening legs no longer supports her to walk around alone, so she either relaxes in the house or someone lifts her to come out and back.

“But her memory is so sharp such that she can recognize all the voices of her children, grandchildren, relatives and neighbours whom she has interacted with them before” said Chebet.

According to Kalenjin -Tugen age set Kobilo is ‘chepngwek’ and she is the only one alive after majority wives of ‘chumo’ and their husbands died many years ago.

Secrets of Culture

Chebet said culturally they always kept his aging mother indoors to avoid mingling and interacting with her great grandchildren outside in the compound.

“It is believed in Kalenjin culture that if the great grandchildren interact with an aging person then might definitely die faster, though we still value seeing her alive” he said.

Wisdom from Granny

Being asked what she had to tell the younger generation, she only cracked a single joke by saying in Tugen dialect, ‘Okurgei- meaning ‘you are on your own’.

It translates to telling someone the decision is yours, how you chose to become in life is upon an individual mindset or decision.

However Baringo Central Member of Parliament (MP) Joshua Kandie visited the granny on Tuesday and paid for her National Hospital Insurance Scheme (NHIF).

He also handed the family sh10, 000 to buy her some basic needs like food and clothing.

“It is also my duty as the area MP to ensure all the elderly people above 70 years receive their monthly government cash transfer fund” he said.

He lauded jubilee government for putting the elderly on a monthly payroll saying it reliefs their dependents cost of sustaining them.

 -JOSEPH KANGOGO

Seven girls rescued as thousands face outlawed FGM in Baringo

Seven girls have been rescued from forceful Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Tangulbei, Tiaty Sub-county as thousands face the cut this rainy season in Baringo County.

They are currently being housed at Tangulbei boarding primary school under care of the school head teacher Musa Terter.

“We interviewed them and they said their parents and brothers threatened to kill them if they resisted joining their mates undergoing the cut in the bush” said Terter.

The girls aged nine and 12 years fled their Karoiwo, Kabalabata and Kakaryakales remote villages on Sunday.

The head teacher said owing to their levels of illiteracy he was forced to place the girls, despite their ages, in class one and two respectively.

He said after the cut, the parents will marry off their girls immediately in-exchange of wealth in terms of livestock.

Tiaty East Deputy Sub-county Commissioner Reuben Ratemo assured the girls their security saying they were in the safe hands.

“Although the parents are threatening to storm the school to take away their child but we have alerted our officers to arrest anybody coming to claim any of the girls” said Ratemo.

However, Tangulbei Woman Network Chairlady Mary Kuket predicted that many girls are going to be circumcised this season owing to plenty of rains.

“There is a huge backlog owing to prolonged droughts last year, yet many circumcised young men are also waiting for the young girls to get circumcised so they could marry” said Ms Kuket.

She therefore appealed to the government, friends and well-wishers to donate mattresses, school uniforms and school fees in order to keep the girls in school.

Ms Kuket also appeals to the government to locate more rescue centres in the affected areas saying the numbers of girl fleeing their homes were increasing by the day.

 

 BY JOSEPH KANGOGO

KCSE Student Who Scored Grade D Determined To Author ‘Kiswahili’ Books

A determined youth in Baringo County who scored a mean grade of D (stand) in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) is now set to publish his ‘Kiswahili’ novels.

It has always become a common phenomenon in Kenya that anybody who scores grade D+ and below in KCSE has already failed horribly in life.

Sometimes, apart from being called names, like ‘academic dwarf’ or ‘slow learner’ just to mention a few, the candidate is also condemned to go and take low profile courses in the middle-level colleges or informal vocational skills in the village polytechnics.

But Mwinyi Kang’ngwony, 27, has defied odds to pursue his rear literature writing career, aiming to join a few intellectuals in the worldly coveted arena of book publishing.

He sat for his KCSE at Kilingot Day secondary school in Baringo North in 2013. He looks jovial and leaves nothing to regrets saying he is comfortable with his mean grade of D. (stand) and C. (stand in Kiwashili).

The humble and soft-spoken lad hails from a sleepy Tiloi village in Ossen, Baringo North Sub-county.

Despite financial challenges, Mwinyi hopes that one day he will get sponsorship to publish his two books entitled, ‘Patu Patu za Maisha’ and ‘Soka Kisungumguti,’ that he says could unearth challenges people face in daily lives and also help students improve their ‘Kiswahili’ subject.

Apart from book publishing Mwinyi also has an inborn passion in Journalism; he says if he had financial aid he could join the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) to pursue his media career.

-Joseph Kangogo