After a plan proposing to lower the age of consent to 16 came under fire, a new one has been mooted to protect boys who have sex with girls their age.
Katoo ole Metito, the Majority Whip for the National Assembly, told his colleagues on Tuesday evening the controversial plan to reduce the age of consent would be replaced with a more sensible option.
The previous bid was criticised for leaving the door open for the seduction of girls just old enough to be in secondary school and too young to vote or bring up children.
He said they would introduce a change to the law that will protect boys who have sex with their age-mates.
“Remember the Romeo and Juliet situation,” Mr Metito said in the House.
It is referred to as a “Romeo and Juliet” law because in the play by William Shakespeare, the girl was aged 14. That kind of law exists in Canada, some states in the United States and South Africa.
Currently, a person who has sexual relations with someone under 18 is liable to a conviction of not less than 15 years, even if the offender is 18 and the victim 17, with judicial officers having no discretion to vary the sentence.
On Wednesday, Majority Leader Aden Duale said: “We shall introduce a provision or I’ll write to the Speaker so that it is removed before the Bill goes for the third reading”.
Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi said that while there was genuine concern that the law has unfairly handed many boys long jail terms, the original intention of the law should be considered.
“The overall intent of the law was to protect women, children and girls and boys. The original intent was to create a country that is safe for women and girls,” Ms Nyokabi said.
She said youthful convicts should be sent to borstal institutions rather than prisons.
Ruaraka MP Tom Kajwang said there were far too many boys in prison for sexual crimes.
“Can we have a sentencing policy that takes care of the brittleness of the children we are dealing with?” he said.
Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo urged caution on the proposals as they might be from influential individuals whose sons are in trouble because of the law.