Thursday was the International Day of the Girl Child and elsewhere in this issue we have Secretary of Labour and Social Services, Lancester Musekwa making shocking revelations about the extent of moral decadence in our country.
Musekwa disclosed that as many as 124 girls were sexually abused within 12 days last month and that up to 9% of Zimbabwe’s teenage girls and 2% of the country’s boys in the same age group were sexually abused last year.
These statistics show that our country is crawling with child molesters and rapists.
We should be ashamed as a nation to portray such a shocking picture where some citizens have turned into beasts. The country has become a jungle where our children are in danger of molestation by people that should be caring for them.
No society should allow such prevalence of molestation within itself.
It is become a curious paradox that while Zimbabwe grapples with ballooning cases of sexual abuse, especially of minors — a concern aggravated by the ravages of HIV and Aids — our laws continue to stand more firmly in protection of animals rather than humans.
Our legislators have over the years amended the two laws dealing with rape and stock theft in such a way that a cattle thief goes to prison, with no option of a fine, for a period no less than nine years for stealing one beast, while rape has no mandatory sentence and a rapist can escape with a suspended sentence.
Media reports from the courts continue to spark outrage because of the absurdity of disparities between judgments where babies are sexually molested and the rapists literally go scot-free while cattle thieves are invariably locked up.
In the case of stock theft, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 114 Section 1 (e) states that any person who “takes possession of stolen livestock or its produce” shall be guilty of stock theft and liable to imprisonment “for a period of not less than nine years or more than 25 years”.
In the case of rape, while the maximum sentence prescribed may be life imprisonment, there is no mandatory jail sentence and the period one could be incarcerated is described in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 65 Section (1) as “imprisonment for life or any shorter period”.
It is in view of these laws that Zimbabweans need to reflect and find a way forward as a nation in order to bring sanity to our society – remove the dangers that lurk over our children brought about by paedophiles that believe they can molest our women and children and get away with it.