CHURCHES and residents in Bulawayo yesterday expressed displeasure over a proposed Bill which seeks to enable access to reproductive healthcare services by young people from the age of 12 years.
BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
Church leaders and residents expressed reservations yesterday during a consultative meeting convened by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care to gather public views on the Bill .
Zimbabwe Christian Alliance representative Mehlokazulu Ncube said the proposed Bill would affect innocent children.
“This thing is against the Constitution of Zimbabwe and my question is why is Parliament pushing such an agenda? We elected parliamentarians to stand for us and it is their duty to deny such Bills which do not promote ubuntu and are against the Constitution,” Ncube said.
“What have they done as parliamentarians to educate children and if this Bill is passed, where are they going to get money to buy these things when as a country we have a serious deficit?”
A resident, Patricia Chininge, said most of the parents were not helping their children with issues of reproduction.
“The society morality has broken down from parents to children and now there are so many child-headed families, but as a society and the government, we have failed to help those children and they end up being exposed to sex and other things,” she said.
“Is giving children this type of education the only solution? I am totally against the Bill. Let’s rise up as the society, as the government as the people and find a solution to deal with this problem. The problem is that children are having sex at an early stage. There is no guidance, there is no education, so let’s bring better ways to deal with that.”
Baptist Union of Zimbabwe member Godwin Moyo said the Bill seemed to put everything in one basket.
“There are problems that are there concerning early pregnancies, child-headed families, but the solution is the one that we are saying no to,” he said.
Nkulumane MP Kucaca Phulu said people had not properly understood the Bill.
“The young people are having their own angle of understanding and the elderly are having their own interpretation. So, I wish to get time and have more discussions with both the youths and the elderly,” he said.
Former Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said they were sent by Parliament to gather public views.
“As you can see, most of the parents and churches are saying ‘no, 12 years is still too young, they are too immature. We are really leading them into child prostitution’ and they are also challenging the age of consent,” he said.
“The youths are saying, ‘let everyone have reproductive healthcare’ and so this is the discussion we were having. The parents’ morale is very low and parents have been complaining that not enough consultation was done. We should have consulted teachers, churches, parents and youths separately and I agree with them.”