NAIROBI (AlertNet) – A 10-year-old girl told a court how she was raped by a man who claimed to be her husband after paying her parents a bride price of $58, the Daily Nation reported on Tuesday.
The girl said she was handed over to a man she had never met before after her father told her he wanted to move her to a different school away from home.
James Maina, 35, is accused of defilement, or rape of a child, and early marriage. He has defended his actions, saying he paid a bride price to the girl’s parents who live on the coast.
“I was going to school last year when my father stopped me. He told me that he wanted to transfer me to another school in Nairobi,” the girl told the court.
She was taken to a woman’s house where her father arrived three days later with a man she had never seen before. The man asked her to follow him.
“All this time I thought I was being taken to a new school,” the girl told the court.
She was taken to the man’s house in Central Province, several hours from her home.
On the third day, the man made sexual advances on the child and raped her when she turned him down, the newspaper reported.
The girl only realised she had been married off when the man started introducing her to villagers as his wife, the report said.
Child marriage is not unusual in Kenya. Some communities marry their girls off young to preserve their honour. Poverty is another factor as the parents traditionally receive a payment called a bride price.
One-third of girls in Coast Province are married before they turn 18, the legal age of marriage in Kenya, according to government statistics.