She was speaking at a forum for County development committee members from Ganze, Kilifi Sub County that included senior police officers from the Coast region where issues on Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), reproductive health, family planning and women rights were discussed.
She observed that awareness creation on both the police and the community is low and therefore a lot of community dialogue is needed.
She noted that culture is the main hindrance where most of the community members are still attached to traditional norms.
She pointed out that there is need for capacity building and provision of constitution in the county government to come up with good policies.
“This will help in identifying where the gaps are and budgeting on how they can deal with problems affecting women,” she noted.
She called for the enhancement of capacity of the chiefs and village elders are necessary especially on women leadership and land matters.
Maranga stressed the importance of reporting GBV cases and seeking immediate medical attention to prevent loss of evidence.
Ms. June Ashioya, an advocate warned those bent on interfering with police investigation on SGBV risk a three years jail.
She noted that those caught bribing the complainant to withdraw a case are breaking law and are liable for punishment as well.
Ashioya urged the community to collaborate with the police in terms of giving them full information and effective arrest of the accused persons.
“The community should see the police force as a friendly institution which is there to assist but not to punish them and understand that if the perpetrator charged is seeking justice for the victim,” she added.
Officer Commanding Police Division in Ganze Jacob Kanaki assured residents of Ganze that a defilement suspect that has been on the run is being traced for arrest.
Kanaki dismissed claims by Kilifi County Women Representative Asha Jumwa Karisa that police might be shielding the suspect after a case was reported some weeks ago.
“This is a very unfortunate statement. Police officers cannot do that. It is not professional and I want to assure the residents of Ganze that the suspect will soon be arrested and arraigned in court,” he said.
Kanaki added that it has been difficult arresting the suspect as he seems to be getting information in regard to his arrest in advance. “Sometimes locals do not help us in identifying criminals within their midst. We need to cooperate so that we can apprehend suspects,” he said.
He noted that it is unfortunate that the man might be receiving intelligent information on plans to arrest him.
The suspect is accused of defiling a 12 year old girl in Dungicha village. The victim is a pupil at Maojo Primary School in Ganze constituency. While addressing Ganze residents at Ganze Primary School, Jumwa blamed the police for bring reluctant in arresting the suspect.
She gave the police a one week ultimatum to arrest the suspect or else, she will lead a peaceful demonstration condemning the act. “We shall lead a demonstration to Ganze police station and demand an immediate arrest of the suspect who has been telling people that he cannot be arrested,” she said.
This article was originally published in the Kenyan Woman newspaper issue 42.