On Friday, October 8, Didas Mpagi was found guilty of sodomising six of his pupils aged between 12 and 16 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
According to the story, ‘Head teacher gets life in jail for sodomising pupils’, that run in yesterday’s Daily Monitor, Mpagi had told the guardians and parents of the children that he would look after them, only to turn into their defiler. Mpagi wept after Justice David Wangutusi pronounced the sentence.
He probably wept for the shame he had brought onto himself and his family and the loss of freedom.
Mpagi, however, should have thought about all that, before he decided to take away the innocence and wreak trauma on those six boys he defiled.
According to the revised Penal Code Act 2007, Section 129 (i) “Any person who performs a sexual act with another person who is below the age of 18 years, commits a felony known as defilement and is on conviction liable to life imprisonment.”
Because Mpagi defiled children who were under the age of 14, and he was in a position of authority over them he was charged with aggravated defilement.
The judge stated that the offences Mpagi committed were grave and he could not be handled with kid gloves.
Such cases that see the light of day are few and far between. One of those that Daily Monitor also published was in 2013 where a woman, Sarah Nekesa, was sentenced to seven years after being found guilty of defiling a 16-year-old boy she had employed as a casual worker. Unlike defilement of girls, cases of boys being defiled are not recognised fully and pursued. But they should be pursued.
The Annual Police Crime and Traffic Safety Report 2020 states that a total of 14,230 victims were defiled in 2020, of whom, 140 were male juveniles.
The number is much lower, compared to those reported of girls, and this is likely because many people do not report cases of boys who have been defiled. It is assumed that boys, especially those who are in their mid or late teenage, are willing partners and so people see no need to report the case. In addition many boys are not willing to open and speak up about what they are facing and so keep quiet about what has been done to them. The media and other organisations should, therefore, work towards creating awareness of the law, as well as encouraging boys to speak up and seek physical, mental and psychological help. The more we speak about these things in the open, the more people will feel encouraged to find the help they need.