Widespread sexual offences plague Marsabit

Marsabit has only two formal courts and three mobile courts

In Summary

• Convictions hampered by lack of sufficient evidence because witnesses don't show up because they cannot afford the time, and cost to distant courts. 

•Marsabit senior magistrate says defilement is rampant among minors and blames outdated cultural practices like FMG and early marriages. 


Girl defiled.

Defilement is rampant in Marsabit. 

Divorces is also alarmingly high compared to other parts of the country.

Marsabit senior resident magistrate Tom Wafula said on Friday 105 sexual offence cases are before the courts.


Speaking during a forum organised by the Judiciary with support of the US Department of Justice, Wafula said the rise in sex crimes results from outdated cultural practices, like FGM, and early marriages.

The magistrate said convictions were hampered lack of evidence as witnesses have to travel long distances to Marsabit town courts.

“In most cases witnesses fail to turn up due to cost and long distances they have to travel, leaving the court with no other option but to terminate the cases,” he said.

Marsabit law courts Kadhi Ibrahim Tulu told the forum that the number of divorce cases was high Marsabit compared with other countries.

Tulu said 60 divorce cases have been filed before him over the six months he has served in Marsabit.

He said that 25 cases have so far been determined by the court. He said the high rate of divorce is the result of entrenched poverty.

Most people seeking divorce ar women who accuse their husbands of neglect and abandonment of their roles.


“Women seeking accuse men of failing to provide basic needs to the family and abdicating their roles as husbands,” the Kadhi said.

Chairperson of the Marsabit Women's Development and Advocacy Organisation (Mwado) Nuria Gollo complained about delays in handling rape and defilement cases

Gollo called for investigations to establish why cases were dragging on for so long and how to speed up the process.

She urged the Judiciary to give rape cases priority and to set up more mobile courts to ensure justice is serviced to victims without delay.

Public Prosecutor Paul Ochieng said that measures have been put in place to reduce the case backlog in courts and reduce prison congestion.

He said that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has resolved cases without having to go to court.

Ochieng praised the cooperation that the ODPP was getting from the police service and the Judiciary to ensure swift justice.

“If we cannot serve and deliver justice to the people of Marsabit, then we have no business being here,” he said.

He urged people dissatisfied with decisions delivered by the courts to always raise the case through the courts of appeal.

Marsabit is the largest county in Kenya but has only two law courts in Moyale and Marsabit. The Judiciary has introduced mobile courts to Loiyangalani, Laisamis and North Horr to reduce the travel time.

Edited by V. Graham

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star