Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has warned child abusers saying the government is introducing stiffer penalties for any perpetrators as such cases continue to worryingly rise.
Over the past few weeks, several cases have been reported of men who sexually abused children, with some falling pregnant and being child mothers while risking their young lives and that of their children.
Chiwenga made the remarks while presenting at the belated World Children’s Day commemoration in Harare Monday.
“The government is deeply concerned with the sad cases of under 10 getting pregnant. Stiffer penalties will be introduced and will have to be done not only to the perpetrators but I think also as parents, we have a responsibility to look after our children,” Chiwenga said.
There is no specific law on sexual harassment in Zimbabwe. There are no national statistics on sexual harassment in Zimbabwe as no research has been openly carried out or conducted.The greater population of sexual harassment victims are women and girls who find themselves at the receiving end of various forms of violence with little to no reprieve at law because of the lack of legislation that addresses how such matters ought to be handled and the penalties thereof. This is despite provisions of Section 51 of the Constitution which highlight that “Every person has the right to bodily and psychological integrity which includes the right to freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources.
“It does not matter what people can say. The child is somebody who has not yet reached 18 years, there is no issue of peer pressure or consent, up until one turns 18…I am happy parliament passed that. We are ramping up programmes to ensure that the victims are rehabilitated. It is now imperative that the perpetrators are dealt with in terms of the law of the land,” Chiwenga added..
His speech comes as lawmakers are pushing for the Sexual Harassment act which seeks to give stiffer penalties to would-be offenders while putting mechanisms in place to protect vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls.
Speaking during a breakfast meeting organised by the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) in Harare early this week, several MPs said the act will go a long way in curbing sexual harassment of, mainly, women and girls, who are more susceptible to sexual abuse.
“We managed to go around, we held our public hearings and we submitted the report to the parliament. the report is now at the second stage. we are waiting for the process to be done so that the law will be enacted, unfortunately, as far as a know, this time around, the parliament is very busy with budget issues, so I think after that, we will be able to push for the process to complete so that it can be enacted, ” Honorable Emma Ncube, Chivi Mwenezi Member of Parliament told the meeting.
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