The Court of Appeal has made a proposal to have the sex consent age reduced to 16 years.
According to Judge Roselyn Nambuye, Daniel Musinga and Patrick Kiage, lowering sex consent age is long overdue as men were languishing in jail for sleeping with teens “who were willing to be and appeared to be adults.”
The three further argued that key issues such as morality, challenges of maturing children, child protection and need for proportionality in punishing sex pests should be the core in discussions.
The judges came up with this proposal after ruling on a man who had been given a 15-year imprisonment for impregnating a 17-year old. The girl had just finished form four when she got pregnant. The girl’s father and the father of her baby agreed on Sh80, 000 dowry, with the area chief as the witness. It is only after he failed to pay the dowry that the man was arrested. The man was released on Friday after being in jail for eight years.
“Our prisons are teeming with young men serving lengthy sentences for having had sexual intercourse with adolescent girls whose consent has been held to be immaterial because they were under 18 years. They may not have attained the age of maturity but they may well have reached the age of discretion and are able to make intelligent and informed decisions about their lives and their bodies,” the judges ruled.
While making the ruling, the judges agreed that it was time for the country to consider changing the Sexual Offenses Act.
“This appeal epitomises for the umpteenth time the unfair consequences that are inherent in s critical enforcement of the Sexual Offences Act, No 3 of 2006 and the unquestioning imposition of some of its penal provisions which could easily lead to a statute-backed purveyance of harm, pejudice and injustice , quite apart from the noble intentions of the legislation,” the court ruled.