The Minister for Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, has appealed to local leaders in Kirehe District to take serious the rising child defilement and teenage pregnancy and implement measures to end the vices in the district.
It was one of major issues discussed during the district’s consultative meeting that brought together local leaders, civil society, security organs and the private sector on Friday in Kirehe.
In 2016-2017, Kirehe had 796 teen pregnancy cases, while they registered 302 in 2017-2018.
Kirehe Mayor, Gerald Muzungu, however, stated that despite the decrease, the most difficult problem that needs more attention was the parents’ role.
“We have carried out research and talked to the victims, and one of the problems identified was parents who hide information about people who impregnated their daughters,” he said, explaining that parents do it mostly because the wrongdoers tried to give them some money to escape from punishment.
Teen pregnancies have also led to school dropouts in the district. Kirehe’s dropout rate was at seven per cent last year before it dropped to three per cent this year, according to the mayor, the decrease is a result of recent drives to bring the students back to schools. He is hopeful that the issue will completely be brought to an end.
Giving an example of a rape case of a seven-year old girl in Kirehe where the suspect was acquitted by court due to lack of evidence, Minister Shyaka called on leaders to stick to their responsibilities of serving citizens and fighting for their rights instead of violating them.
The alleged rapist was taken into custody for a few days and then released due to lack of evidence.
Deo Kabarisa, an official of Rwanda Investigation Bureau in Kirehe, said the incident took place on October 9, a week before it was reported, and mentioned this as the reason the evidence was hard to find. Minister Shyaka warned that there must be other similar cases and called for action.
“We cannot build the Rwandan society we want if we keep destroying young girls’ lives, our children need parenting, but they also need life,” said the official.
The Minister added that both leaders and residents ought to join forces to end teen pregnancies and child defilement at once, and bring perpetrators to justice.