Malia Obama’s story points to emergence of paedophillia on social media in Kenya

Malia Obama with her mother Michelle. 2 Men from Kenya have openely proposed to the 16 year old Malia ahead of the US President visit to Kenya in July
Malia Obama with her mother Michelle. 2 Men from Kenya have openely proposed to the 16 year old Malia ahead of the US President visit to Kenya in July
Malia Obama with her mother Michelle. Two Kenyan Men  have openly proposed to the 16 year old Malia ahead of the US President visit to Kenya in July

The news of the Obama visit to Kenya for the GES Summit have been over-shadowed by what the mainstream media in Kenya has chosen to focus on in the last 2 weeks, the marriage proposal from some two Kenyan gentlemen to the First family’s first born daughter Malia who is only 16 years old.

There was a time when we had a definition for any grown up man  who confessed his love lust for  under age girls. The term was ‘Paedophile‘.

Somehow, this is a term that is no longer in Kenya’s media dictionary as they continue to give us blow by blow coverage of the life and journey of the two suitors who are asking for Malia’s hand in marriage. It has therefore become quite o.k for the two men to let the world know that they have been harboring thoughts towards Malia. For the lawyer, it goes as far back as when she was thirteen years old.

The internet and more so social media has made it quite O.K for men to share their sexual fantasies of young girls as well as share images and hold discussions on children who are still in their teens. in a sexual manner.   Perhaps the worst perversion of the internet as a tool for exchange of information has been pornography and child pornography has become much worse in recent times due to ease in access to devices such as web cameras and the lack of parental understanding of how sexual perversion thrives online thus failing to control the use internet among children.

Pornography is a big part of the problem, according to some, such as the Réseau québécois d’action pour la santé des femmes. Soft porn images now abound and seem normal in pop culture aimed at teens and teens.

In Africa, child marriage has been fighting for survival following efforts through NGOs to end the practice. The use of the internet and social media by sexual offenders involving minors is still not common practice in African countries due to barriers such as lack of low cost internet, the devices and technical know how by paedophiles. However, with the changing trend in access to internet across Africa, Social networking paedophile might no longer be just  a problem for the developed world.

“This is another example of how the internet is, for all its many, many benefits which we’re always keen to point out, is allowing types of child abuse to take place that would never have taken place before.” said Peter Davies, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre in an interview with the telegraph.

Children “knowing more” than adults about technology is “often one of the mental barriers for parents”, he added.

“But it’s possible for a parent who perhaps doesn’t know much about the internet still to have a sensible conversation with their kid about how to stay safe and certainly make sure that they’re doing what they can to exercise control over the way the device can be used and also make sure their kids are aware of the risks.”

Although Malia’s is the first full blown case in which the Kenyan media have been co-opted into treating paedophiles as celebrities, there have been other subtle instances in which men have openly share and discussed photos of young girls in a sexual manner. Its only a matter of time before we have Face book or whats app groups created for similar purposes as more and more parents in Africa allow their children to own and use electronic devices such as smart phones with little control.

There is a need for increased awareness among parents on the ills of not having control of what their teenage daughters do on social media networks especially in regards to what information and images they share and with whom. There is also a need for the media to behave more responsibly especially in promotion of news stories that seem to glorify the practice of paedophilia regardless of whether it is involving the daughter of a sitting U.S president or not.

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2 comments

  1. rayawambui Reply

    I think paedophilia is much more real than even those ‘proposals’. In today Kenya, it has nothing to do with marriage, and a lot more to do with teenage pregnancies that go on to be single mothers while still in their teens. Just within my circle of people that I know, I know of two teenage pregnancies, one the father was a teacher, the other a college student. These men are rarely ever brought to task. It is hard enough to get them to offer support for the pregnancy and babies, let alone prosecute for statutory rape. Does that charge even exist here? The girls were 15 and 13 respectively. But the men chose to see and treat them as women.
    I agree with your conclusion, the media needs to start calling a spade a spade on this topic, at least to start with.
    Though, perhaps, the issue has not become an online plague, it is, in my opinion, definitely rampant, and is still an area where victim blaming is the most common response. So the perpetrators, just continue their behaviour unabashed, thinking “its not my fault, she is too beautiful” or “she looked like a woman” while they strole off to take another school uniform off of another little girl.

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