BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
GIRL rights activists have expressed outrage at the fine imposed by a traditional court on a Chinese national who impregnated and married a 15-year-old Sanyati girl.
The Chinese national only identified as Yan, who is employed as an engineer at Rongxin/Mambo Mine, about 75km from Kadoma, appeared before Chief Neuso born Titos Mudzimiri last Sunday and was fined four beasts, three sheep and US$1000.
His in-laws were also fined for ‘selling off’ their daughter on November 26, 2021.
But Africa Union Goodwill ambassador on ending child marriages, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda said there must be zero tolerance to rape and child marriages.
She called on the police to expedite investigations into the case.
Karen Mukwasi, the director of Pada Platform said the girl was not old enough to consent to marriage.
“Of course this is impunity. The Chinese man has been let off with a slap on the wrist,” she said.
- Chamisa under fire over US$120K donation
- Mavhunga puts DeMbare into Chibuku quarterfinals
- Pension funds bet on Cabora Bassa oilfields
- Councils defy govt fire tender directive
Shamwari Ye Mwanasikana advocacy officer Rudo Mangwanyata said the case revealed the need to protect the girl child through enacting tough legislation.
“Forced marriages are a menace to society and the lives of girls. Forced Marriages must end now. The Marriage Bill must be passed into law as a matter of urgency,” Mangwanyata said.
“We need tougher sentences to be imposed on perpetrators. Our courts must set precedence when sentencing those found guilty of these crimes against girls. Having offenders going unpunished defeats our efforts in ending violence against women and girls by 2030.”
Msasa Project is advocating for mandatory jail sentencing for sexual offenders.
In December last year, Women Affairs minister Sithembiso Nyoni called on police to arrest the Chinese national and the girls’ parents for facilitating the child marriage.
Child protection advocate Chinga Govhiati said there was lack of cohesion between the child protection laws and the constitution.
“In the case at hand, a number of questions arise and for me these are to do with child protection in the community court,” Ghoviati said.
“When traditional leaders preside over matters where a child’s rights have been violated, do they also look at these or they are only concerned with breach of customary law?
But Acting Prosecutor General Justin Uladi on Friday told The Standard that investigations over the child marriage case were still ongoing.
“I can confirm that there are two dockets that have reached our office in Kadoma. One of them involves the Chinese national suspected of having married a minor and the other one is of the parents who married off the minor,” Uladi said.
“These have been returned to the police for further investigation but l can’t comment further. “