Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has blasted teen marriages, urging girls to only consider marriage only after university or tertiary education.
His views, which he called ‘government policy’ were in sharp contrast to those of Prosecutor General (PG) Johannes Tomana, who invited the ire of child rights campaigners when he suggested that girls as young as 12 must be listened to by the courts if they wish to start families with older men.
The Guest of Honour at a Global Action Week Launch at Chaplin High School in Gweru on Friday afternoon, Mnangagwa also a lawyer like Tomana, went on to suggest that men ought to marry spinsters instead.
“Roorai dzava tsikombi, kwete svava dzine mukaka pamhuno (marry spinsters as opposed to teenagers),” he said.
In a scathing attack on micro-blogging site Twitter, yesterday the United Kingdom-based Girl Child Network Worldwide (GCNW) called Tomana ‘the most cruel man on earth.’
“This is the man who has protected a rapist…,” the organisation said, in a thin-veiled reference to the PG ‘s refusal to prosecute former special adviser to Dr Gideon Gono, then the Reserve Bank Governor, on child rape charges. Tomana has even refused to issue a certificate of private prosecution to the girl’s attorneys.
“Tomana’s view that 12 year-olds can consent to sex is outrageous and compromises his office,” even Media, Information and Publicity Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo admitted in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the VP said the advancement of any country is solely dependent on the levels of its people. He added that the government adopted progressive policy at independence, which regarded education as a basic need and a fundamental right.
“In 2005, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education put up a national Education For All (EFA) Framework as a roadmap to attain goals. I take pride in the fact that Government has done all in its ability to ensure that the goals have been attained, for example, over the successive year the education sector has been awarded the highest chunk in the fiscus.
“The government has ensured that the Ministry of Education has received above 20percent of the budget vote in tandem with the UNESCO benchmark of 20 percent of the national budget and 6 percent of the Gross Domestic product (GDP).
The Global Action week is set aside by the Global Campaign for Education to advocate for the attainment of education for all goals, with Zimbabwe being a signatory to the Dakar framework of Action of 2000 which sought to attain the EFA goals by 2015.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora, Midlands Affairs minister Jason Machaya, city mayor Hamutendi Kombayi, among other dignitaries attended the function.
‘Right to Education 2000 to 2030’ is the theme under which the campaign is running.