A crackdown launched on members of the Kabonokia religious sect who had withdrawn their children from school on grounds of their beliefs in Tharaka Constituency is bearing fruit.
So far, at least 40 children have returned to school.
At least 280 learners dropped from school between January and August this year according to Tharaka-North Sub County Director of Education Geoffrey Ndeo.
MORE JOIN KABONOKIA
Mr Ndeo also said the number is rising as more families join the sect that prohibits its member’s from pursuing formal education and going to hospital among other things.
In September this year, Tharaka-Nithi County Commissioner Beverly Opwora toured the area where the sect is dominant following a public outcry and ordered a crackdown on parents who had withdrawn their children from school.
“Following a crackdown and peaceful engagement with the Kabonokia religious followers, at least 40 children who had been withdrawn from school by their parents have gone back,” Ms Opwora told journalists on Monday.
She said the crackdown will continue until all children of school going age join learning institutions as basic education is mandatory in the country.
During this year’s population census, 46 members of the Kabonokia sect were jailed for between six and 12 months for refusing to be enumerated, terming the exercise as satanic. The believers also avoided Huduma Namba registration.
Ms Opwora has also raised concerns over increased incidences of defilement and other forms of child abuse in the region and blamed it to drug abuse and consumption of illicit brew.
She said most of the crimes are being committed by family members or people who are well known to the children who should be their custodians.
To curb drug abuse and illicit liquor consumption, the county commissioner said security officers in the region have intensified crackdowns and in the last two months arrested 147 drug peddlers and brewers and poured over 10,000 litres.
She said they have also netted 1,900 kilogrammes of bhang and 192 rolls of the same substance.
“We have arraigned the suspects and [they have been] fined a total of Sh1.385 million and the crackdown is ongoing,” she said.
She said there is a serious degradation of morality especially among the young married men and sked parents to be vigilant and always report any forms of child abuse to the police or local administrators for a legal action.
She also appealed to religious leaders to take seriously their role of counselling young families, noting that there is need for concerted efforts to redeem the society’s ruined morality.
The administrator maintained that government will not tolerate any form of criminality and urged other State agencies including the Judiciary to cooperate.