via Tomana refuses to clarify statement | The Herald June 22, 2015
Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana, who torched a storm last week after suggesting that children as young as 12 years can consent to sex, yesterday refused to clarify controversial parts of his recorded speech on the issue.
Mr Tomana was recorded by our Bulawayo Bureau during an interview in which he made the statement whose parts have sparked outrage.
In one of the shocking statements captured in the audio clip, Mr Tomana said: “We’ve nine-year-olds, 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds who’re actually not in school, who’re not doing anything for example. What are we saying to them? We say you can’t even do this (have sex), when the environment is not giving them alternative engagements? What are we talking about?
“You need to be able to be holistic about it. If we want to say we want to educate our girl child universally up to, for example, when they get to the age of 18 in an environment where you guarantee that they’re not abused, then we’re talking.
“But to simply say ‘no such and such conduct’ for any girl say below the age of 16, I think we’ve not asked ourselves what we’re saying about that girl who would rather prefer to lead their life in the direction for example of getting married.
“What are you saying? Should they just sit there and wait until they are like 21 doing nothing? Is that what you’re saying? So you must talk to everybody… What do you want them to do? Some cultures for example, they value marriage more than anything else because when your girl child is married, you’ve achieved what any father or mother would want to expect in their girl child.
“If, for example, we’re able to marry off our girl at 15 and she’s married, are you saying that should not happen even where, for example, there’s nothing else that that girl could be doing? Is that what you are saying?”
Mr Tomana’s remarks drew brickbats from child rights defenders and President Mugabe on Saturday raised the red flag saying Government would soon outlaw marriages with persons below the age of 18.
Pressed to clarify on his sentiments as captured in the audio clip, Mr Tiomana said he would not continue discussing the issue with the Herald because the paper was making “fun out of him”.
He said his earlier clarification on the matter was framed as a “climb down” a – view which he said suggested that the Herald was sticking to its earlier story.
“You asked for a clarification and you decide to take my remarks as a climb-down which means you are standing with your story,” he said.
“Makutondi cartooner so I cannot keep talking to you. Let that be put to trial properly. Do you know I have daughters as well? It is time we face.”
Mr Tomana said he was now being called all sorts of names as a result of the story published by the Herald and the Chronicle.
“I want to take it more official now… I am now being called a pervert, mad, child abuser and some are saying I must resign so I cannot keep talking to you,” he said.