Single parents in Kenya are taking to a new Facebook page to express their frustrations with “deadbeat parents” who have abandoned their children.
“Dead Beat Kenya”
The page, named Dead Beat Kenya seeks to turn a very public eye on absentee parents, in an attempt to expose them. The page jarringly shares pictures, phone numbers, as well as other private details of the alleged deadbeat parents.
Founder Jackson Njeru, started the page after seeing of Dead Beat Kenya, said he started it after seeing countless women struggling to raise children on their own. “This thing is happening in all families — we have people getting kids and running away,” he said. “Our kids are being violated.”
Accused Can Defend Themselves
While it might seem a little extreme, Njeru asks the accuser to provide any information they may have to validate the claims. He also tracks down the accused to give them a chance at defending themselves. “We call both parties. It’s a challenge to verify,” he said. “But I remind people that they’ll be sued for defamation if they make false accusations.”
Despite cries of outrage and numerous lawsuits filed against him, Njeru stands by his posts. “For me it’s all about the children. If I’m going to be jailed about the children, let it be,” he said. According to him, the Facebook group has helped to resolve close to 25 cases offline, mostly due to the fact that the alleged absentee fathers decided to try to resolve the issue after the initial verification call. Once a resolution is reached, administrators remove the post.
Opposition to the page feel it is not only ripe for defamation lawsuits, but also might be a source of embarrassment for children whose parents have been named.
Judy Thongori, a family attorney in Nairobi, feels parents should first try to resolve issues offline and in person. “If that fails,” she said, “there’s a court system in place to help aggrieved parties.” However, Thongori also admits that going to court can be a long, painstaking, and often costly process. Njeru adds that the courts are also rife with corruption, and often give the wealthier parent the advantage. “The aggrieved mothers and fathers who publish information on this page reserve their rights to pursue their interests for care, custody and maintenance of the abandoned children,” he said. In just a week, Dead Beat Kenya attracted roughly 180,000 members.
Njeru has no plans to remove the page.
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Source: CNN, ‘Dead Beat Kenya’ Facebook page claims to expose absentee parents, September 19, 2014
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