Residents in Lamu County, Chalaluma village have been outraged after the county’s Chief of Staff Mohamed Galgalo married a girl reported to be of school-going age during the recent Ramadhan season.
Although the Galgalo insists his lover is not a minor, her former headmaster at Chalaluma Primary School notes that the girl dropped out in Class Six two years ago.
Speaking to the Standard, the school head, Mr Nyawanda stated that the girl dropped out of school after her parents opted to take her to the madrassa.
“The marriage of the girl was done secretly and in spite of my opposition. I wanted the young girl to continue with her education, but the mother found it right to marry her off behind my back,” the area chief Abdi Bocha highlighted.
The chief, Mr Bocha also noted that he tried to convince the mother to take the girl back to school to no avail.
Bocha claimed his stance made him an enemy of the family before he later found out that the girl had been married off.
Galgalo’s mother, however, defended the county official’s actions claiming that in Orma tradition, any girl who is more than 12 years is eligible for marriage whether in school or not.
“I did not see any need to keep holding the girl in the village when there is a suitable person to marry her. I married her off for Sh80,000,” the mother mentioned.
The mother also explained that Galgalo spotted her daughter when she was lining up to receive relief food when floods messed parts of the county last month.
The man, in his late 50s, offered to serve her the food, escorted her back home and even roamed around her village for five days.
On his part, Galgalo insists that the girl was born in 1999 and such an age is ripe for marriage.
“Is it wrong to marry a 19-year-old girl? The younger brother is 16-years-old; does it mean that she is the same age as the bother?” Galgalo posed.
However, Coast youth for transformation change chairman Francis Mugo has written a letter to the Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha, calling for Galgalo’s sacking to allow investigations. He copied the letter to the county commissioner, Children’s Department, and the police.
“I have also written to the Women’s Representative, who is in the forefront in the fight against early marriage. I have also written to the county commissioner and the police,” Mugo asserted.