A CHILDREN’S rights group, Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children (ZNCWC) has urged the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry to investigate cases of children alleged to have been abused individually.
ZNCWC national director Taylor Nyanhete said many people are talking about the violence that erupted at Madzibaba Ishmael Mufani’s Johanne Masowe Echishanu Budiriro shrine and not talking about why the violence started.
“For us it is the issues that led to the people going to that shrine in the first place,” Nyanhete said.
“We heard of the allegations of children married off young, children not going to school and children being denied health access. We are seeing children’s rights being violated there.”
He said when parents join the sect their Identity documents are destroyed.
“This violates children’s right in the sense that the parents cannot get a birth record for their child. Without this they cannot access many more other things,” Nyanhete said. He said there was need for the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry to take charge and guard children’s rights.
“The ZNCWC is urging the ministry to investigate these cases individually and to establish if this has really been happening to the children and to take action as they are the custodian of the children in Zimbabwe,” Nyanhete said.
He said given the issues raised, there was need to develop an action plan to make sure that the churches comply with the laws of Zimbabwe so that children’s rights are not violated using religion.
“We also call upon the government to regulate churches, these churches should have constitutions which will be seen so that the rights of the children are also protected,” Nyanhete added.
“There is a concern where the leaders have become the word of the church.”
He said ZNCWC was engaging the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe to discuss the matter.
“It’s also our view that the approach which was used was not the best, children’s issues should be held in a better way from the start,” said Nyanhete. He said there was need for the ministry to take action as it was guided by the Constitution. According to Section 14 of the Constitution, it empowers among others a probation officer to remove a child or children in need or abused/neglected to a place of safety.