BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
PARLIAMENT has summoned Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to present a Bill that criminalises having sex with minors under the age of 18.
This follows the Constitutional Court’s recent landmark ruling increasing the age of sexual consent from 16 to 18.
According to the ruling, Ziyambi has up to a year to enact a law that protects children from sexual exploitation in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
On Thursday, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya made the call for the minister to be summoned to Parliament while raising a point of national interest.
“I therefore call upon the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to come to Parliament with a Bill that actualises the provisions but criminalise the involvement of sexual activities for children under the age of 18 years so that at least we make it a reality for us to protect these children who are below the age of 18,” Chikwinya said.
Chikwinya was supported by CCC Harare East legislator Tendai Biti.
“The Minister of Justice and government was obliged to come up with a comprehensive Bill protecting children, not just vis-à-vis sex or child marriage but also things like pornography and cyber bullying,” Biti said.
“So the minister must come up with a comprehensive Bill — protecting children, giving life to the children’s rights set out in Section 81 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“The implicit ruling by the Constitutional Court is that the Child Protection Adoption Act must also be revisited. It still sets the age of a child at 16 and does not offer sufficient protection, particularly for those children between 16 and 18,also children still face discrimination from the inheritance point of view.”
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