Kakamega senator Cleophas Malala, Photo courtesy of NTV
By Cleophas Malala
I write this, first as a Parent, then as a Product of the Kenya National Drama Festival, then as a Director of the Kenya National Drama Festival and lastly as the Senator for Kakamega County.
It’s with a lot of discomfiture that I received the news about the banning of a dance by Lwak Girls and Ogande Girls.
This news brought back the regrettable memories of the banning of SHACKLES OF DOOM by Butere Girls. While this is a quasi judicial decision by the regional drama committee I want to fault it for the following broad and specific reasons: –
THAT this is an unconstitutional move that must be rebutted in the strongest punitive measures possible. Article 53 (2) of THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA is express in its wording “A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.” I authoritatively state that the folly of the adult should not in any way be meted on the child. The Committee is therefore put to strict proof that the child were in the wrong. If they fail to do so, punitive action should be meted on them without fear or favor.
THAT it’s illegal for the said committee to purport to deny the children their legal right to participate in artistic and cultural activities, for whatever reason. Section 17 of the CHILDREN ACT of 2001 is emphatic and reads “A child shall be entitled to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities.” Let the committee be informed that you cannot take away a legal entitlement of the children by unilateral and illegal decision.
Drama is a means of passing information. It’s a tool for learning. It’s a means of education for the child. As a means of education, it’s safeguarded under the law. Section 7 of the CHILDREN ACT 2001 estopes any one from taking away this right. It reads, “Every child shall be entitled to education the provision of which shall be the responsibility of the Government and the parents.” The Committee is the representative of the government in the running of the festival. I want to state it here, that as such, they miserably failed the Kenyan child by allowing auxiliary issues to cloud the primary role – which is to make sure the best interest of the child, is upheld.
In view of the foregoing, I make my contribution as follows: – the organizers and committee should work out a formula which may include arranging for the adjudication of the two schools with a view of ranking them and / or allowing them to showcase their talents at the National Drama Festival. Secondly, allowing the children to showcase their items at the nationals under the VISION 2010 direct entry slots so that the children are not unjustly victimized.