Two couples who swapped partners in Busia County in Kenya a week ago have signed a joint parental responsibility agreement to protect the rights of five children under their care.
Ms Lilian Weta, 28, a mother of three, and Ms. Immaculate Wekesa, 29, a mother of two, exchanged partners in a bold but rather unusual step over what they termed incessant quarrels that destabilized their marriages. Ms. Weta was married to Mr. Christopher Abwire, 34, while Ms. Wekesa was the wife to 35-years-old Kevin Barasa.
The couples signed the documents Wednesday before a tribunal that had summoned them to address the matter led by County Commissioner Jacob Narengo, Busia County Director of Children’s Services Esther Wasige and Matayos Sub-county Children’s Officer Luke Papa.
“The government is keen on ensuring that the children’s rights are protected. This agreement will be reviewed on a need basis. The children’s services department will monitor the children on a weekly basis to ensure their rights are observed,” Mr Narengo said.
The county commissioner warned the couple that they risk being charged in court if they breach the agreement.
“Any of you who will be found abusing the rights of any of these children will be dealt with accordingly. The same applies to breach of the agreement you have just signed,” he said.
The arrangement also directs that shelter and food will be provided by the mothers, while education will be provided by the fathers. Both parents were also directed to cover medical expenses and clothing.
However, the children have been granted unlimited access to both parents who will be reporting to the children’s department on a monthly basis.
The couples, who will be required to report every Wednesday of the first week of the month, agreed to adhere to the resolutions of the tribunal.
“I will ensure that Lilian’s children are given good care according to my ability,” said Mr Abwire after the signing the agreement
Mr Barasa thanked the government for intervening in the matter that will ensure the children don’t bear the brunt of their parents’ separation. “I’m ready to take care of my friend’s children till they’re 18. I’ll ensure they have food on the table and go to school.”
To affirm, their newfound friendship, the couples, who left residents of Siroba and Namwitsula villages in Matayos and Butula constituencies in utter shock over their decision, went ahead to pose together for photos after the meeting.