Mara regional Police commander Philip Kalangi at work in his office.
Musoma. Mara Region tops the domestic violence rankings countrywide.
And now it has scored another dubious record with the defilement of a child less than two years old.
Her alleged attacker? A 16-year-old Form Two student. School had closed and the suspect decided to spend his mid-term break at his brother’s home at Nyankanga in Butiama District. But rest and relaxation appears to have been the furthest thing on his mind.
This year alone, police in the region have received reports of some 26 sex assaults on children. But residents say the number reflects just a tip of the iceberg as many more cases go unreported.
Parents and guardians in the region have to contend with fear and uncertainty--and they want the authorities to address the problem and assure them that their children will be protected.
The worst part of rape here is the fact that they are committed by adults generally aged 22 and above. Their victims can be as young as two.
Mr Fazel Janja, 52, and a father of four, links the escalating cases of rape with witchcraft beliefs which, he says, are entrenched in the region.
“The only explanation for a 30-year-old raping a one-year-old is an obsession with witchcraft,” says Mr Janja.
He cites a recent case at Murangi Village in which a 22-year-old was arrested for assaulting a baby six months old.
“I link these acts with superstitious beliefs,” says Mr Janja. “A mentally sound man cannot defile a child. Do you think they enjoy the act?”
Mara Region is historically known for high levels of gender-based violence but sex abuse of children has come into the picture only in recent years. Mr Janja calls on the authorities to do research on the growing problem and deal with the situation.
Regional Police boss Philip Kalangi, says about 26 child defilement cases have been reported from January to August--and the situation is worsening by the day