Precious Manomano-Herald Reporter
Parliamentarians want a major effort to prevent ritual murders, usually of children, by superstitious people who believe that killing a small child can bring them wealth.
MDC Alliance legislator for Mutare Central and party secretary for justice and legal affairs, Mr Innocent Gonese, said it was important to sensitise the public that becoming an entrepreneur requires hard work and success cannot come from killing a child or a young person.
“Prevention is better than cure,” he said. “We should address the root causes so that we prevent the children from being killed. Initiating such a killing is totally unlikely to bring anything, but a jail sentence for the killers.”
Mr Gonese was speaking on the child rights at the day of the African Child Commemorations in Harare organised by Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC) and Southern African Parliamentary Trust (SAPST).
Members of Parliament were given a platform to interact with children and identify issues that needed attention.
Issues relating to access to education, health, child abuse, early child marriages, domestic violence, child trafficking, child-headed families, street children, drug abuse, divorce and climate change are some of the problems the country continue to encounter.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Caucus on the child rights Cde Mathew Nyashanu (Zanu PF Buhera Central) said it will be amiss to ignore such social ills which have far-reaching implications on the lives of the children.
Zimbabwe had made great strides in creating an enabling environment that is child-sensitive.
“We have already made headways as a country when we enacted Education Amendment Act of 2019, which recognises children’s rights to education, particularly, the right to state funded basic education and enhancing access to sanitary wear to all school going girls,” he said.
“Issues of age of consent to marriage, sex and to sexual and reproductive health are still sticky issues, but I believe as the caucus, we take it upon ourselves to lobby for enactment of such child-sensitive laws that support the involvement and development of our children into responsible adults.”
Nyashanu promised to channel adequate resources around the plight of children.
Matabeleland South Constituency legislator Ms Lindiwe Maphosa (MDC-Alliance) said child birth registration needed to be addressed, especially in her province where many children are affected.
“We need to address the issue of birth registration and introduce mobile registration units in rural areas to curb the problem,” said Ms Maphosa.
Children from Advocates of Hope Zimbabwe and those from Hopley Can Change Initiative, who were present, said all laws affecting them must be aligned to the Constitution and their implementation ensured, including the laws which provide for the age of consent.
The day of African child is celebrated every June 16 to remember about 10 000 South African black school children who marched to protest the poor quality of their education in apartheid South Africa and the order that they should be taught in Afrikaans.