Food-for-sex claims at camp
Published on March 18, 2008, 12:00 am
By Robert Nyasato
A sex scandal involving mothers, their daughters and humanitarian organisations’ officials has been reported in a camp for displaced people.
Displaced people at Nyamira’s Ekerenyo Camp, home to 1,500 victims of post-election violence, on Monday told a meeting that mothers were offering their daughters for sex in exchange for food, money, shelter and bedding.
Red Cross male volunteers were accused of demanding sexual favours from women in exchange for food. Two women, who sought anonymity, lamented that they were denied tents after they turned down volunteers’ sexual demands and were now sharing one with ten others. But the Red Cross official in charge of the camp, Mr Benson Owade, denied the food-for-sex allegations and promised to investigate.
Many displaced people, however, said since Owade was posted to the camp recently, the situation had changed for the better.
A representative of displaced people, Mr Makori Nyabuto, said desperate women had turned to prostitution after their employers, multinational tea estates, failed to pay salaries.
“Men who were paid and outsiders are preying on women who can’t afford basic necessities. There is a lot of free movement in the camp at night,” said Nyabuto.
The camp is at Ekerenyo DO’s office and extends to a local sports ground on the Kisii-Kericho highway. It has no perimeter fence and outsiders enter and leave it at will.
At the meeting were North Mugirango-Borabu MP, Mr Wilfred Ombui, and Government and Red Cross officials. The MP expressed shock at the moral decay in the camp and warned of dire consequences against those involved.
“This can’t be allowed to go on. We will investigate the allegations and those engaging in the vice will be kicked out of the camp. You should understand why you are here in the first place,” the angry MP warned. He asked the Provincial Administration to investigate claims that people who had not been displaced had infiltrated the camp.
People evicted from various parts of the country claimed that the residents had infiltrated the camp for political reasons. The MP said such people would be arrested and taken to court.
Some Red Cross volunteers were also accused of stealing food for the displaced people. On Saturday, women confronted a female Red Cross official who was giving food to her brother who is not a victim of the post-election violence.