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‘We need free, fair elections’

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Newly-elected Junior Child President, Anesu Rangwani, has stressed the need for Zimbabweans to engage in peaceful polls and said the new crop of junior MPs will enhance active participation by children in crafting new legislation.

“We need free and fair elections without violence,” said Rangwani during his Presidential address speech at the opening of the 19th session of children’s Parliament on Saturday.

“This new crop of junior MPs will bring in new ideas and we want to enhance active participation of all children — including those youths living and working on the streets — and ensure whatever laws are advocated for by children will be enforced.”

Outgoing junior President Nigel Gwanzura rapped the senior Parliament and Cabinet for snubbing initiatives from the junior chamber.

“The problem is that the junior Parliament does not have a Budget to implement its projects. Once we complete our terms in the junior Parliament no one cares about us anymore and they do not make a follow-up to find out what we are doing later in life.

We do not even get preferences in the Presidential scholarship programmes even if we would have been deprived of a lot of time to study while we concentrate on activities of the junior Parliament,” Gwanzura said.

Second Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Chavinda, said although it was true schoolchildren were indulging in sex, the issue of supplying condoms to them was controversial and needed to be dealt with carefully.

“We are saying schools, in conjunction with clinics, should first introduce sex education and teach children about sexually-transmitted diseases and HIV and to be responsible.

No parent would send their child to a school with condoms because it is like encouraging sex among schoolchildren,” said Chavinda.

The junior MPs demanded they be consulted whenever the government promulgates policies that affected children, instead of applying “top-bottom approaches”.

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