Children in Zimbabwe were the most affected by the political crisis currently bedeviling the country, said Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Machel, who jetted into the country on Monday, on Tuesday said children should not be made to pay the price for the country’s economic and political decline.
Zimbabwe has experienced serious political instability and economic decline since 2000.
The problems are blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s policies.
But the 86-year-old leader blames the West for imposing sanctions which have resulted in the economic and political meltdown.
Machel met children from different organisations as part of her three-day visit to understand how the inclusive government and other institutions were addressing the issue of children’s rights.
“I know there has been talk of crisis but I leave here with so much hope and if this is the quality of children growing in this country, this country is in good hands and you have to take control,” she said.
It was an emotional moment when the renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights took time to listen to children’s experiences in the country and their personal lives.
“You spoke to my heart and it was emotional.
“This session was enough and I don’t need any more to understand the situation on children in the country,” she said.
“My visit is to learn how the stakeholders, government, the United Nations, civic society and children organisations, are doing in as far as children rights are concerned,” she said.
Machel is also a member of The Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders brought together by Mandela who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.