When a parent (name withheld) from Kitui County found that his daughter’s Form One school fees had been paid in full through a bursary from the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-NG-CDF), nothing triggered any curiosity in his mind.
Even though the peasant farmer had not formally applied for the money, he counted himself lucky as he was among thousands of poor parents seeking the bursary support because raising the school fees was a challenge to him.
To express his gratitude, he called a NG-CDF committee official, who was known to him, and invited him for dinner at their home.
Unknown to the parents of the schoolgirl, as they were entertaining their esteemed guest with a sumptuous meal of fried chicken, their daughter was struggling to conceal a three-month-old pregnancy each passing day.
According to the father, the influential NG-CDF committee member promised to ensure their daughter was awarded more bursaries in her subsequent years in school, but this unusual generosity still did not raise the alarm.
Towards the end of May the school’s principal summoned the mother and revealed to her that their daughter was pregnant and could not continue with learning.
What shocked the couple was that their daughter was not only pregnant but the man they had hosted for dinner to thank him for supporting her education through bursary was responsible for it and that he had allegedly raped her.
It dawned on them that the NG-CDF bursary allocation was not in good faith after all. It was meant to pacify them into being lenient to the suspect once the pregnancy was exposed.
“The girl actually confessed that she was defiled on the evening of December 6 last year by the suspect as she was walking home from the market and he threatened her never to disclose the incident,” a distraught father told the Nation.
He said they were deeply disappointed by the realisation that their daughter had been defiled and impregnated soon after sitting her KCPE exam last year.
What followed was a deliberate and well-orchestrated effort to blackmail and intimidate the parents into accepting to shield the suspect from any possible prosecution even as the girl dropped out of school.
To escape justice, the rape suspect admitted to the girl’s parents that he was indeed responsible for the pregnancy but offered to cater for the upbringing of the child that would be born and the mother’s education.
“The NG-CDF official came to meet us last week accompanied by his elder brother and we agreed to settle the matter because he accepted his mistakes. He also agreed to pay for my daughter’s school fees after delivery and cater for child,” the girl’s father narrated.
Reports that the meeting to reconcile the girl’s father and the culprit was attended by the local assistant chief is what triggered public anger.
But when contacted, the administrator vehemently denied shielding the suspect.
At the same time, the girl’s father denied having been compromised by the suspect, arguing that he did not want to spoil his friendship with the local leadership by pursuing the matter in court.
“I want us to settle this matter without generating unnecessary squabbles in our area or creating tension in my family. My daughter will still get justice outside the courts,” he said.
The girl, who is due to deliver in two weeks, is now admitted to a Kitui hospital after being rescued from her home by well-wishers, who also pressurised the parents to report the matter to police.
A local businessman said he offered to pay for the student’s hospitalisation because there were fears about her safety at her home.
“We feared she could be kidnapped and probably harmed in the process of destroying the evidence,” the businessman said, adding that police must conclude investigations into the case without delay.
Last week, the girl’s mother) bowed to public pressure and reported the matter to the local police station where she recorded a statement but the suspect is yet to be arrested.
Zombe Sub-County Police Commander Malasi Mwazighe confirmed that the matter is under active investigations and that the file has been sent to Director of Public Prosecutions for advice on whether to charge the suspect in court.