, 05 October, 2019 / 2:24 AM
A Kenyan video expose aired on local television stations depicting children at a government facility being mistreated bringing to the public sphere ills in society has angered a cleric attached to the office coordinating child protection services, describing the activities at the facility as “very disgusting and very inhuman.”
“It is very disgusting and very inhuman to see what I saw and what is happening in the eyes of the government which should be taking care of her citizens,” Fr. Calisto Nyagilo told ACI Africa Friday reacting to the video available on YouTube.
Trending under the hashtag SinsofSaviors, children with various cognitive disabilities are filmed in the 51min documentary screaming and groaning in pain as “medics” use an assortment of needle-like objects on various parts of their (children) bodies.
“The way the children were screaming like wild animals then you continue doing the same,” Fr. Nyagilo, a Canon lawyer remarked and continued, “it’s like the action is being hidden and that shows you that indeed they (medics) are not doing the right thing.”
“Following how Pope Francis put it, it is like sacrilege, it is going beyond even what the evil could expect,” the Director of Canon Law National Office which coordinates child protection services under the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said and added, “You don't expect even the worst of the evil person to do that.”
The investigative documentary shows how the children who are under the care of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK) were transferred from a government hospital to a facility that purportedly offers alternative medicine.
“Somebody is sleeping on the job in our government facility who are supposed to take care of our children and they are not doing it,” Fr. Nyagilo lamented.
Following the airing of the documentary on a local television channel, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) confirmed that neither the facility nor the “medics” are registered to practice any form of medicine as the facility’s records showed.
At the same time, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, which “regulates the practice of pharmacy and the manufacture and trade in drugs and poisons” established that the facility stocked medicine that is not approved for use in the country.
The operators of the facility were arrested and charged in court for “administering medical treatment by false pretense and operating an unlicensed facility.”
However, the Chief Executive Officer of CWSK, Irene Mureithi termed the documentary as “simply drama, even a movie,” while the Parliamentary Committee for Labour and Social Welfare Chairman, Ali Wario expressed satisfaction with the care the children under CWSK’s homes are given, a statement seen by many as “cover up.”
According to Fr. Nyagilo, creating awareness on children rights is key to preventing and fighting child abuse.
“When we have educated everybody and they know their duty and obligation to protect the children, then they (children) will be relatively safe in that if neighbours hear a child being abused, they will be able to report,” he said.
“It is time to wake up as a country, community, as a society to condemn this and to see to it that it indeed these children are being protected,” Fr. Nyagilo concluded.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa