A SOMBRE mood gripped both Houses of Parliament yesterday when a women’s pressure group Musasa Women’s Project paraded over 10 young rape victims to enable them to have first-hand experience on how MPs were contributing to debate on a gender-based violence motion introduced last week by an MDC-T MP.
An official from Musasa Women’s Project said the visibly pregnant girls were aged between 12 and 18 years.
The motion was introduced in the National Assembly by Harare West MP Jessie Majome and it attracted extensive debate from across the political and gender divide with MPs calling for stiffer sentences to be meted out on perpetrators.
Majome called for a mandatory 30-year sentence while seconder of the motion Kuwadzana MP Lucia Matibenga (MDC-T) castigated rape, especially perpetrated on victims by family members.
“Those that eat their own seed and rape women should be sent to jail for a long term because it is disturbing that people should behave like animals,” said Matibenga.
Goromonzi West MP Biata Nyamupinga (Zanu PF) warned male MPs against stifling debate over the issue.
“Most victims are children who are virgins and it is embarrassing to find a strong man raping that child. We need all provinces to have Victim Friendly Units because evidence is destroyed when people raped in remote areas have to travel to Victim Friendly Units in Harare,” Nyamupinga said.
Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese (MDC-T) said police should be well resourced to accurately identify the perpetrators using modern machinery.
Contributing to the same debate, Mutare South MP Nyasha Chikwinya (Zanu PF) said relatives who protected rapists should also be brought to book.