Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka has asked Parliament to come up with tough proposals to protect schoolgirls from sex pests, suggesting an overhaul of the Sexual Offences Act.
Mr Lusaka’s suggestion comes at a time when hundreds of girls between 13 and 18 years, who sat for the national primary exams last week or are sitting the ongoing secondary exams, are pregnant or have given birth.
“The only way to stem this debilitating vice is to come up with stringent laws that will serve as a deterrent to others. We need to act now, and tough, because criminals are messing with the future of this country,” Mr Lusaka said at the Lavington United Church in Nairobi yesterday.
His suggestions came as the National Assembly launched investigations into the high rate of teenage pregnancies in schools following a public outcry over lack of government action.
Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga wants the House committee on Education to investigate the cause of teenage pregnancies in the country and the steps taken to ensure the problem is addressed.
“Teenage pregnancies among schoolgirls has become worrying and alarming to say the least. It is a case of babies having babies with diverse effects not only on the individual, but on the community as a whole. Are we too busy for our children?” Ms Wanga asked.
Some girls delivered during their exams and had to write their papers in the hospital wards, a situation Ms Wanga said is worrying.
Last week, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed ordered an audit of all pregnant girls in schools as the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary-General and nominated MP Wilson Sossion pointed accusatory fingers at her ministry’s quality assurance officers.
“How come these cases have been happening without their knowledge?” Mr Sossion asked.
Meanwhile Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale said the problem needs an urgent solution since it is robbing young girls off an opportunity to complete n their education, and the fruits that come with it.
According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2014, most of the young girls who get pregnant are forced to drop out of school to take care of themselves and their babies.
- Many girls doing the national primary and secondary exams this year are pregnant or have given birth.
- The National Assembly has launched investigations into the high rate of teenage pregnancies in schools.