Last Wednesday, two teenage boys who were being chased by administration police officers were knocked down and injured by a car as they crossed the road at Pakawa Estate in Nakuru County.
They were running away from police officers, who had raided illegal gambling premises in the area.
A few kilometres in Mau Forest, two teens were found dead after being shot with bows and arrows by unknown assailants who made away with tens of head of cattle.
The bodies of the two – aged 14 and 15 – were found in the forest on Wednesday morning, after they failed to return home the previous day.
TEENS ARRESTED IN NAKURU
Just a month ago, tens of teens were arrested in Nakuru as they shot pornographic videos and held a party in total disregard of government directives to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
These are just but a few of the ways children – who Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha says should be learning online – are spending their time at home. Already, some have fallen into the traps of social delinquency and are indulging in immorality and other vices.
In Kisii County, for instance, school heads are under pressure from parents following discovery that some children have turned their classrooms into sex dens.
Mr Dominic Magori, a parent in Nyamemiso village, Kegati Location, Nyaribari Chache, said children sneak into the classrooms in the nearby primary school, often dodging the guard whose movements they monitor.
On a rainy afternoon, he had dashed into one of the classrooms to seek shelter and was shocked at what he saw.
“I ran into two youngsters, aged between 14 and 16, having sex. They vanished into a nearby bush immediately they saw me,” he said.
His curiosity stirred, he took a walk around other unlocked classrooms and found wrappings of used condoms scattered on the floors of two classrooms.
A guard at a neighbouring school, who sought anonymity for fear of reprisals, confirmed Mr Magori’s story.
CHILDREN PUSHED INTO MINING
Across Nyanza, Western and South Rift regions, the effects of Covid-19 on families have seen parents push their children into mining, hawking, fishing and boda boda businesses.
In Ikolomani constituency, children are flocking to goldmines to join their parents in crushing rocks from the underground shafts.
Ikolomani Assistant County Commissioner 1 Cromwell Mutuku said efforts are being made to sensitise parents to avoid involving children in mining activities. “We are literally forced to police the mines to keep away the children, who are being encouraged by their parents to join them in mining activities,” said Mr Mutuku.
In Kakamega, Kisumu, Migori and Mumias towns, children are freely hawking an assortment of goods.
Every morning, tens of children can be seen carrying packets of sweets, small containers with roasted and boiled groundnuts, chewing gums, ripe bananas, boiled and roasted maize, mandazi and other food items.
Mr Fadhili Mulaa, a barber in the town, said the children hawkers are very aggressive.
Kisumu Children’s Department director Humphrey Wandeo warns that hawking not only exposes children to Covid-19 but also sexual abuse.
“We have warned parents several times that they are risking the lives of their children. This exposes them to sex predators who will destroy their lives. Some of the children work past 7.30pm,” he said.
In Bomet, Kericho and Kisii counties, it is common to come across underage boys dangerously riding motorcycles on main and feeder roads.
We found 16-year-old Brian, a Form Three student at Daraja Mbili Secondary School in Kisii town, waiting for customers at Daraja Moja stage at around 9pm on Monday.
He hires the motorcycle from a former school mate, who dropped out of school. He sends Sh200 daily to him for a ‘squad’ and keeps the rest, taking home up to Sh400 for his family’s upkeep.
“I hardly find time to do my assignments, which are sent online,” he said.
Kisii Town Boda Boda Association chairman Mike Mose said many of the accidents witnessed in the town are caused by young, inexperienced drivers.
Masaba North OCPD Robert Ndambiri said: “These children are courting death and we will arrest them.”
In Bomet and Kericho counties, children are also engaged as tea pickers in small and large scale farms. Some schoolgirls have been sexually exploited.
“As a result of closure of schools, children are engaged in all manner of things and it is difficult for parents to monitor them,” said Mr Paul Kimetto, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Bomet County executive secretary.
In Migori, a spot check by the Nation in Siri and Muhuru towns revealed that an increasing number of children are engaged in fishing expeditions in Lake Victoria.
“They come here as early as 5am seeking casual work, such as drying fresh omena (sardines) for a token. We give them tins of omena in return,” said Ms Priscah Awuor, a fish monger.
Along the gold belt of Masara, Mikeyi Osiri Matanda and Opasi mines in Nyatike and Sauna West sub-counties, young learners are involved in prospecting for gold.
Last month, a 14-year-old boy died at a local mine in Awendo when the walls of the mine caved in.
Mr Chacha Mwita, a resident of Guitembe village in Kuria West, said boys have been crossing over to Narok County to seek work as cattle herders.
Reporting by Stella Cherono, Wycliffe Nyaberi, Benson Amadala, Shaban Makokha, Vitalis Kimutai, Ian Byron, George Odiwuor and Derick Luvega
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