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‘Dead Beat Kenya’ A Kenyan Facebook Page Naming and Shaming Runaway Parents

by Milicent Atieno

‘Dead Beat Kenya’ A Kenyan Facebook Page Naming and Shaming Runaway Parents

Kenya have taken to social media to address their parental disputes and its going viral. Dubbed ‘Dead Beat Kenya,’ this is a Facebook page started by one Jackson Njeru to give a platform for single parents to name and shame parents who have abandoned their children.

The page exposes absentee parents’ most private and full details with the intention of shaming them enough to want to take up their neglected responsibilities. The posts are quite frank and all-up-in-your-face; the admin puts up pictures, contacts, employer details and even private details of the alleged absentee parents in a way that would make privacy advocates run for cover.

The page neither respects social status nor influence, no member of the society is spared. Not even powerful local politicians and celebrities.

Njeru says he was driven to start this Facebook page after seeing how many women were struggling to meet their children’s upkeep after the men who fathered their kids suddenly became magicians and pulled a disappearance act. Njeru who works on his family’s farming business runs the page on a part-time basis with the help of other few volunteer administrators.

This thing is happening in all families – we have people getting kids and running away. Our kids are being violated,” says, Njeru.

But before the admin posts any allegations on the site, they take measures to verify the authenticity of the accusations being leveled. He asks the aggrieved party to provide proof to back their accusations, through evidences like a birth certificate or proof of communication between the two parents. Njeru also calls up the alleged absentee parent and gives him/her the opportunity to defend themselves.

We call both parties. It’s a challenge to verify. But I remind people that they’ll be sued for defamation if they make false accusations.”

Njeru says he keeps receiving numerous applications from single parents, and his page is going viral. But on the flip side, it is also making him the target of many furious alleged absentee parents who keeps threatening him with numerous law suits. Despite all these, Njeru says he is not worried and will continue posting.

For me it’s all about the children. If I’m going to be jailed about the children, let it be.”

Njeru and his team have so far resolved about 25 cases offline after the alleged absentee parents stepped up and took up responsibility during the initial verification calls. Njeru went further to explain that when a resolution is reached between the complainant and the alleged absentee parent, the page administrators pull down the post.

On the other hand, lawyers see Njeru’s page as a legal minefield. One Nairibo-based lawyer, Ray Tollo, as cited by CNN, says:

The issue that I would consider first is defamation. In Kenya, the defamation law is wide-ranging and encompasses not just things you read in the papers, but social media as well.”

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