Press Statement – November 2nd 2014
The right to life is a basic human right. Anita, a 4 year old girl was robbed of this extremely important right. She will never grow up to fulfill her dreams and actualize her full potential. She is no more! We cannot continue to lose girls or any child for that matter as a result of sexual violence. This MUST stop and NOW! We are extremely appalled and in the strongest terms possible condemn the acts of defilement, sodomy and subsequent murder of 4 year old Anita Osebe Moi. This deeply disturbing, cruel, inhuman and gruesome incident took place at Iringa village, Bomonyara location, Tabaka Ward, South Mugirango Constituency, Kisii County on October 8th 2014.
The cause of Osebe’s death was revealed through a postmortem done at Tabaka Mission Hospital on October 30th 2014 confirming that she died from acute heart failure as a result of defilement and sodomy. Osebe was laid to rest at her parents’ home in Iringa village on Friday October 31st 2014. The defilement and murder of Osebe MUST be vehemently condemned by all Kenyans and world citizens of goodwill. The Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-Kenya) has taken up this matter in an effort to seek justice for Osebe and her family. We also condemn what the family of Osebe and community members say has been a slow response by the local law enforcement systems to thoroughly investigate and apprehend the known suspect when he emerged as a suspect in
this matter before he went into hiding. Given the gravity of the offense the suspect is being sought for – he is a GREAT danger to public safety and particularly to children. He MUST be apprehended as soon as possible to help ease community tensions and the deep sense of insecurity and vulnerability that prevails within the Iringa and Tabaka Ward community at large.
This case is just one in thousands that highlights the challenges and difficulties children in Kenya face daily. While we do not have access to official statistics of defilement and/or subsequent murder of children in Kisii County, the rampant defilement of minors particularly girls in Kenya coupled with a very low prosecution rate when cases are reported is deeply disturbing.
A fact that led to the ‘Equality Effect’ 160 Girls project in Eastern Kenya revealing that every 30 minutes, a girl or woman is raped in Kenya. In relation to this project, a case comment on the Kenya Law website reports that “on 27th May, 2013, the High Court in Meru delivered a landmark constitutional decision where a group of young girls successfully challenged the Kenya government on its inaction regarding sexual abuse of children, known as defilement”.
It further explains that “The action was filed in the context of a high prevalence of sexual violence against children in Meru County and indeed in the whole country” asserting that even though “Kenya already had adequate legislation in the form of the Sexual Offences Act, 2006 which imposes stiff penalties for defilement and other sexual offences, “the law’s effectiveness has been marred by poor enforcement due to failure of the police to investigate complaints of sexual violence or arrest the perpetrators”.
We call upon H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, David Kimaiyo, Inspector General of the Kenya Police, Keriako Tobiko, Director of Public Prosecutions, Chege Mwangi, Kisii County Commissioner, H.E. James Ongwae, Governor Kisii County, Hon. Mary Otara, Kisii County Women’s Representative, Hon. Daniel Ombasa Apepo, Tabaka Ward Representative and Manson Nyamweya, South Mugirango Member of Parliament to ensure a shift and thorough investigation into the defilement and subsequent murder of Anita Osebe Moi; leading to the capture and prosecution of the person that committed this heinous act. We also call upon all Kenyans of goodwill to stand with Osebe’s family at this very difficult time of great loss and grief by demanding that the
government apprehends the known suspect as a matter of URGENCY and ensure that justice is served.
We urge the national, county governments and civil society organizations to collaborate in conducting much needed research on cases of defilement, abuse and the murder of minors in all communities. They should also partner with the Media to conduct comprehensive grassroots child/human rights community awareness, sensitization and empowerment campaigns to help prevent the gross human rights violations children, particularly girls continue to suffer. This should include information on how to report cases, where to report cases and every person’s role in protecting children from these brutal and savage attacks by selfish and callous individuals.
The prevalent culture of the dehumanization of girls and women as property and objects for boys’ and men’s sexual gratification along with the bizarre myth, attitudes and assumptions that boys and men cannot control their sexual desires must also be fervently challenged and dismissed. We also urge the public to be vigilant and break the culture of silence around these atrocities by reporting all cases of defilement, abuse and the murder of children within families, schools and the community at large.
We cannot use the past to justify wrongs in the present but must apply current universal values and understanding on the sanctity of life and the non-negotiable need to collectively uphold human dignity as well as challenge and abandon dehumanizing past cultural assumptions and practices. It should also be noted that everyone is responsible for their actions and should be held accountable for the way they chose to react in any given situation.
Family and community child protection structures at the clan, ward and county levels should be established and/or strengthened by the national and county governments in collaboration with civil society organizations as a way of preventing and providing redress when violations do occur. We must say enough is enough to all acts of violence against children as well as take full responsibility and action to ensure their safety and protection of their human rights. In so doing, we uphold our collective humanity with hope that we can co-create a better world for us ALL – where we treat each other with dignity and respect, regardless of age or gender.
Finally, we commend Hon. Daniel Ombasa Apepo, Tabaka Ward Representative, H.E. James Ongwae, Governor, Kisii County, H.E. Joash Maangi, Deputy Governor Kisii County, Hon. Joyce Isaac, Member Kisii County Assembly (devolution), Hon. Risper Onguti, Deputy Minority Leader and Member Kisii County Assembly as well as Hon. Moiro, Minister of Culture, Sports, Youth and Gender, Kisii County for the support they have offered to Osebe’s family. We also request them to urge the national and county level law enforcement systems to ensure that justice is promptly served in Osebe’s case as well as all cases of sexual violence against children, particularly girls within families, schools and the community at large. The establishment of ‘Rescue Centers’ in Kisii County would also go a long way in helping ensure protection and restoration of the dignity of gender based violence survivors.
While we hope and pray that the soul of Anita Osebe Moi rests in eternal peace, we also imagine that her spirit probably won’t rest until the person that deeply violated her – ultimately taking her life – has been found and prosecuted by the Kenyan government. May justice be served!
Organizations/Initiatives: Tabaka Ward ‘Uongozi Wa Utu’ Project, The African Women’s Communication and
Development Network (FEMNET), Young Women Leaders Institute (YWLI) and Coalition On Violence Against
Kerubo Abuya, Lead Organizer, Tabaka Ward ‘Uongozi Wa Utu’ Project
Job Ochieng, Program Associate, Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW)
- Publisher:Tabaka Ward ‘Uongozi Wa Utu’ Project
- Release date:November 2, 2014
- Contact for publication:firstname.lastname@example.org