A man in southwestern Kenya recently gave his one-year-old granddaughter to another man aged approximately 50 years old “to raise as a future wife,” Kenya’s Daily Nation reported Sunday.
The grandfather of the betrothed baby, identified by the Daily Nation as “an 80-year-old man” known as “J.S.,” gave the one-year-old to a male friend as compensation after a previous attempt to marry his teenage daughter to the same man, believed to be in his 50s, fell through.
J.S.’s teenage daughter became pregnant by her secondary school-age boyfriend last year.
“To cover what the family considered to be ‘shame,’ she was made to drop out of school and be the fourth wife to KK, her father’s friend, from Ewaso Kedong in Kajiado West sub-county, who is thought to be in his 50s,” the Daily Nation reported.
Local government officials thwarted the minor’s betrothal in August, however, after learning of the arranged marriage.
“It was the collaboration by officers from the children’s and education departments that facilitated the girl’s rescue from her ‘matrimonial’ home, alongside her one-year-old daughter,” the newspaper recalled.
“As the teenager returned to school, the baby was placed in the custody of her grandmother, who is also JS’s younger wife, in Nkorkidinga village, Isinya,” according to the publication.
The intervention of local authorities angered J.S., prompting the octogenarian to give away his infant granddaughter to the 50-year-old as a form of restitution.
“JS, in a bizarre act of trying to ‘preserve’ the broken marriage he arranged, took back the one-year-old to his friend KK,” the Daily Nation revealed.
Unidentified family members of J.S. told the newspaper “this was to ‘compensate’ KK, who was to raise the one-year-old to be his wife in future if the teenage mother taken away by the authorities did not return.”
“He added that as long as his daughter remains in the hands of the authorities, the one-year-old granddaughter would stay in KK’s home,” according to the account of J.S. family members.
The Daily Nation traveled to Ewaso Kedong, where both J.S. and K.K. reside, to try to find the one-year-old baby in question. The newspaper’s investigative journalists said they successfully tracked down the baby to the home of K.K.
“At KK’s homestead, two of his three wives and more than 10 children came out to meet us, but the man [K.K.] kept away,” the publication recalled. “At first they were hostile and feigned ignorance about what we were looking for.”
“Later, they cooked up a story saying that the teenage student we were talking about was their sibling named Beatrice, who had been married off elsewhere and that upon returning home with her child, the government ‘abducted’ her, never to be seen,” the Daily Nation detailed.
“All the while, one of the wives was carrying the one-year-old,” according to the newspaper.
The Daily Nation said it reached out to Ewaso Kedong village chief Moses Teeka, who confirmed via telephone that the one-year-old in question was living at K.K.’s home, though he claimed to be ignorant of the baby’s betrothal to the 50-year-old man.
“I told him to return the child to her grandmother. Give me time to inquire whether he did so,” Teeka said.
The publication seemed to indicate an unidentified “administrator” of Ewaso Kedong village had been bribed to not report the one-year-old’s betrothal to K.K. to police.
“We could not also independently verify claims that an administrator had been bribed with Sh30,000 and a goat to turn a blind eye to the matter as the fate of the one-year-old remained in limbo,” the newspaper wrote.
The rape and sexual assault of children and babies by adult men have long been scourges of Kenyan society, along with that of several other African nations, such as neighboring Tanzania. Police in Nairobi, Kenya’s national capital, arrested a man in November 2020 for allegedly sexually assaulting “his three-year-old step-son and four-day-old daughter at his home at Makina village in Kibra Sub County,” Nairobi News reported.