The government has outlawed disco matanga in Bungoma County. This was revealed on Wednesday by the Bungoma County Commissioner Samuel Kimiti, while addressing religious leaders during the County interfaith building capacity to respond to the triple threat of HIV, teenage pregnancy and gender based violence held in Mabanga ATC.
In the one day workshop that attracted representation from various religious institutions, Ministry of Health and the Media, Kimiti said it has been discovered that disco matanga quite often leads to incidences of participants breaking the law as others engage in illicit liquor consumption, illicit sex resulting in teenage pregnancies and sometimes cases of HIV infections.
“The triple threat affects development, security and also affects our lives more so, that of our children,” said Kimiti. He said this challenge cannot be fought by government alone. It needs concerted efforts, thus the involvement of the interfaith leaders.
The County Commissioner further stated that in some occasions fights have erupted in disco matanga further aggravating incidences of gender based violence that are reportedly high in the County.
He urged the people to embrace good cultural practices and outlaw bad practices like Female Genital Mutilation. He asked the interfaith leaders to step forward and sensitize the community on the risks involved in disco matanga.
“When we lose our beloved one, it’s important that we inter that person with dignity and avoid engaging in retrogressive activities that go against our laws, best customs and our lives,” he added
He said, going forward the security officers will beef up surveillance and take legal action against all those engaged in such ills.
Meanwhile, Edwin Lwanya the HIV coordinator for National AIDS Control Council in charge of Bungoma and Busia Counties says “teenage pregnancies in Bungoma and more so with Sub-Counties such as Kanduyi recording over 2,000 cases every year is a matter of concern.” He added that the County also continues to record high cases of gender based violence at 27%.
Lwanya further states over 95% of Kenyans subscribe to one faith or the other and therefore the faith leaders speak to congregants at least once or twice a week thus the millions of Kenyans who are in contact with the faith leaders need the messaging that touches on the triple threat .
The NACC HIV coordinator says incorporating the interfaith leaders will go a long way in reducing vices like teen pregnancies, HIV infections as well as gender based violence.
On his part, Bishop Calistus Barasa, HSC, Presiding Bishop of Tabernacle Of Praise International Ministry and Chairman Bungoma Interfaith thanked NACC and the Bungoma County Commissioner for incorporating the religious leaders in the fight against the triple threat.
Bishop Calistus says Bungoma County continues to suffer the shame of teenage pregnancies, cases of new HIV infections and incidences of gender violence. He called on the people to have self respect, to be able to be counted upon and be able to guide one another while cooperating with the government agencies.
“Let us all rebuke and condemn bad deeds, only then can society live with dignity,” says Bishop Calistus.
The workshop looked at the HIV situation in Bungoma, teenage pregnancies, HIV and co morbidity as well as Gender Based Violence and the linkage with HIV and teen pregnancies.
Currently HIV prevalence in Bungoma County is at 3.8%.