PARLIAMENT is set to debate a motion to set mandatory 30 year sentences for rapists after Harare West MP Jessie Majome was on Tuesday granted leave to introduce the motion.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Majome’s motion came at a time a Harare serial rapist Thomas Chirembwe (30) was sentenced to an effective 230 years in jail after violating 30 women.
The MP tried to introduce her motion during the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence in December last year, but was blocked by deputy speaker of the House of Assembly Mabel Chinomona, who said she had not followed the correct Parliamentary procedure.
“Madam Speaker, I wish to give notice that I will introduce a motion in the National Assembly for the introduction of mandatory stiff sentences of 30 years and above for rape and fitting stiff sentences for gender-based violence convicts,” Majome said.
“I would also want the government to provide for adequate forensic rape investigation facilities at police stations and immediately implement the National Gender-Based Violence Strategy 2012 to 2015.”
She told the august House that the motion she would like to introduce had been motivated by the rising incidences of rape in the country whereby 2013 statistics showed between January and December about 1 050 women were raped.
“I am concerned about the low rate of apprehension, conviction or sentencing of perpetrators, as well as lack of forensic investigation kits and lenient sentences against rapists. Government should provide investigation kits at all police stations,” she said.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the Parliamentary portfolio committee on women affairs, gender and community development Biata Beatrice Nyamupinga said the 2014 national budget underfunded the Women’s Affairs ministry.
“The ministry required $602 941 for gender based violence, but was allocated only $170 000. It means this will affect information dissemination right down to the villages. On the establishment of a Gender Commission, the department was allocated $50 000 when they requested $250 000 and it means it will be a challenge for the ministry to set up the Gender Commission,” Nyamupinga said.
Nyamupinga said the allocation to the women’s affairs ministry constituted 1% of the budget.