A 17-year-old girl from Ilbissil location in Kajiado Central sub-county outwitted her father’s bid to marry her off to an elderly man after running for safety to a rescue centre.
The girl was rescued by the area chief David Lenoti Letene after she informed him of her father's diabolical plans.
She completed her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education(KCSE) last year and on Sunday last week learnt that her father was planning to marry her off to a 50-year-old man and tried to plead with him to let her continue with her education to no avail.
When her pleas fell on deaf ears, she ran away from their home on Tuesday to a relative's home in Meto location, a few kilometres away.
Her father, who had lost most of his cows to the biting drought was determined to marry her off for a six-cow bride price and pursued her but the girl managed to escape on Wednesday evening from the home where she had sought refuge and braved the night's cold and lurking danger in the nearby wilderness.
On Thursday, a relative was able to rescue her and took her to her uncle's home in Isinya Sub County but the uncle dutifully informed her father of her whereabouts and he came to take her back to their Ilbissil home in preparation for the marriage.
Seeing that all her efforts to escape the forced marriage had reached a dead end, the girl sought the mobile number of the local chief and informed him of her predicament.
Luckily for her, Chief Letene swung into action and was able to rescue the girl with the help of police while they were enroute to their Ilbissil home on Friday.
Both father and daughter were taken to Ilbissil police station where the father argued that the girl had attained the maturity age of 18 years.
Police officers requested for the girl's birth certificate to ascertain her age and that was when the father managed to sneak out and escape the dragnet.
Though the girl scored a grade D- in her exams, she hopes to continue with her education since she aspires to be a teacher.
She has since been placed in a safe house as the authorities search for her father who is said to have already pocketed a sum from his prospective in-laws.
NDMA reports that at least 258,854 out of 652,856 herds of cattle have died in Kajiado due to the ravaging drought.
This has led to an increase in cases of early marriages in Kajiado as some families look for ways to restock their herds which is the main source of livelihood.
Kajiado County Commissioner Felix Watakila has called on members of the public to be vigilant and report such incidents, adding that every child has a right to education.
"I want to warn all those parents who subject our girls to Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriages that stern action will be taken against them. We have to protect our children from retrogressive cultures," Watakila stated.