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Pregnancy spree in Kilifi and killing fields of Kapedo, when shock is valid

A thousand school going children in Kilifi county are pregnant, Citizen TV reported January 22. Read that again. A thousand. Schoolchildren.

Last year, Kenyanews.go.ke had more mind-boggling numbers. Over 3,000 teenage girls got pregnant between January and May 2020. In a July 9 story, Kenyanews said 75 of these girls were aged between 10 and 14.

Anger erupts over such a story. An inner voice screams, how? More importantly, why? What is wrong with the men – or is it boys – of Kilifi? How is this allowed to happen? Where are parents? Where are teachers? Where is government? And why Kilifi? All these questions erupt at ounce.

While we were still battling these emotions, the media flung us across the country to the killing fields of Kapedo, a different maddening theatre at the border of Baringo and Turkana counties.

Kapedo, a village stalked by death, fear and sorrow for close to a decade, the Standard reported January 24. In the days before and after, all media covered the death of a GSU commander and an inspector of police at the hands of bandits, followed swiftly by civilian massacres.

The region is perennially infamous for cattle rustling. But what used to be a sport or customary rivalry over time has become a deadly phenomenon. Platoons of armed police officers have “disappeared” in the valleys of Kapedo. Civilians now get routinely shot like dogs in revenge massacres by “security” officers.

Two stories, two angles, two valid emotions: shock and anger.

The media is frequently criticized for running sensational stories for their pure shock value. But, no. In the Kilifi and Kapedo stories, this time media is not milking shock value for sales. The moment warrants it. Sometimes shock demands change. On these two stories, it should.

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