• Health CEC Joseph Mbai says the county registers between 4,000 and 6,000 teenage pregnancies every year.
• Says it would no longer be possible for men who prey on underage girls to bribe their way out or resolve cases through arbitration.
The parents of pregnant teens in Murang’a county have been given one week to register with the county government, failing which they will be prosecuted.
Health executive Joseph Mbai said this will enable the county government to follow up on the cases and ensure the men responsible are brought to book.
He said the county records between 4,000 and 6,000 cases of teenage pregnancies every year and that it is time for serious measures to be put in place to end the problem. Gatanga and Maragua subcounties are the worst hit, Mbai said.
He said it would no longer be possible for men who prey on underage girls to bribe their way out or resolve cases through arbitration.
“It is time to seriously debate this issue and decide what to do to save the lives of our girls. Many of them end up developing complications when giving birth as their reproductive organs are not yet fully developed,” Mbai said.
The county executive, who has initiated Okoa Teenagers Initiative, said teenage girls are too young to responsibly bring up their young ones.
“Leaders need to collectively take action so that we can make sure every expectant woman is over 18 years old,” he said.
He also urged residents to educate girls. “We have discovered that many of the girls are defiled by married men. If you cannot eat raw maize or pawpaw, why do you defile a 13-year-old girl?” Mbai asked.
He said men who prey on girls below 12 years should know that they face life imprisonment, while those who defile girls between 13 and 14 years draw a minimum sentence of 20 years behind bars. Those who defile girls between 15 and 18 years face a jail sentence of 15 years.
Already, 27 men have been convicted of defilement, while three cases are ongoing. Another seven cases have just been reported.
Mbai also put on notice medical practitioners who aid abortions and pharmacies that sell abortion drugs. He said they would also be prosecuted and their licenses cancelled.
Florence Nyambura, a resident of Kiahiti village in Kigumo urged the government to reopen schools to keep children busy.
Edited by A.N