Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has banned the famous disco 'matangas' in Trans Nzoia over the rise in teenage pregnancies in the county.
Disco matanga (funeral disco) is the final celebration in the Luhya funeral rites where a huge party is organised at the homestead of the deceased and all villagers are invited to have an overnight party.
Addressing the media during a briefing on March 1, the CS while in the company of senior police officers from the county banned the somewhat cultural practice, alleging that it is a key contributor to teen pregnancies in Trans Nzoia.
|Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i (right) and Rift Valley Regional Commander George Natembeya in Kitale on Monday, March 1, 2021.|
The county leads the country with about 10,000 cases recorded as per the Ministry of Interior.
"The problem we have here in Trans Nzoia, and that is why we have this alarming numbers, is this thing we call disco matanga," Matiang'i stated.
He refuted customary reasons, that members of the public celebrate the deceased by coming together to sing and dance, arguing that interactions between children during this period is a contributing factor to the pregnancies.
"I have agreed with the county security team here that, that thing is banned," Matiang'i pronounced.
He directed the county commander to work around the clock in ensuring the practice is completely abolished in Trans Nzoia.
Matiang'i directed the police to raid such functions, seize the stereo systems and arrest every person present. Those nabbed will be arraigned in court to answer for charges preferred against them.
The ban comes at the back of continued criticism of the function with regard to teenage pregnancies, the spread of HIV and Aids, and the fight against Covid-19.
For a long time, disco 'matangas' have provided a place for young people to meet and engage in various activities, much to the approval of parents or guardians.
A research by Unicef released on November 27, 2020, revealed that disco matangas are among the key drivers in adolescent pregnancies and HIV.
“It is critical we understand the underlying drivers of high teenage pregnancies and HIV, including stigma, social norms around expected behaviours and peer pressure to engage in sexual relations at an early age and to get pregnant.
"Without this understanding programmes and policies will continue to fail adolescents, and especially girls," Dr Fiona Samuels, Senior Research Fellow at ODI and Principal Investigator for the study stated.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i inspects a police parade in Kitale on Monday, March 1, 2021.