Court of Appeal proposes to lower sex consent age to 16 years

Milimani law courts in Nairobi. Justice Mugure Thande dismissed application by state to dismiss conservatory orders suspending the implementation of the Finance Act 2023./COURTESY

Judge Roselyn Nambuye, Daniel Musinga, and Patrick Kiage, of the court of appeal, have proposed to have the sex consent age reduced to 16 years.

According to the three judges “lowering sex consent age is long overdue as men are languishing in jail for sleeping with teens who were willing to and appeared to be adults”.

“Our prisons are teeming with young men serving lengthy sentences for having had sexual intercourse with adolescent girls whose consent has been held to be immaterial because they were under 18 years. They may not have attained the age of maturity but they may well have reached the age of discretion and are able to make intelligent and informed decisions about their lives and their bodies,” the judges added.

The proposal came about after they reversed a 15-year sentence slapped on a man who had impregnated a 17-year-old girl.

In the case, Eliud Waweru was jailed after he impregnated a girl who had just completed Form Four. Waweru and the girl’s father agreed on a Sh 80,000 dowry in the presence of the area chief after the girl eloped with the man.

It is only after he failed to pay the money that he was arrested and charged. Waweru, who was jailed for eight years, was released last Friday.

While making the ruling, the judges concluded that it was time for the country to consider changing the Sexual Offenses Act.