By John Nhandara
JUNIOR councillors have expressed concern over the recent spike in cases of child sexual exploitation, saying the safety of children can only be guaranteed if urgent attention is taken.
Recent cases of child sexual exploitation, where in most cases relatives are the alleged perpetrators have left society with more questions than answers.
Equally concerned with these social ills are members of the junior council, who aired their views during a Junior Councils National Annual Forum in Harare this Thursday.
“I will put this in the context of absentee parenting because even if some of the parents are physically available there might not be emotionally and psychologically present for children to open up,” said Jewel Damunesa, Junior Mayor for Bulawayo city council.
“We are concerned and the trend is worrying. We need to see more in arrests and awareness,” said Lindrose Katiyo, Kwekwe Zibagwe junior councillor.
“Sex education has been somehow made taboo and we need to have more investment in the social structures and sex education in the curriculum so that we know how to be safe,” said Atupilele Phiri, junior Mayor for Harare city Council.
Stakeholders feel there is a need for government to expedite amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after the bill was approved by the cabinet early this week.
“The government is pushing much in terms of the policy to make sure perpetrators should spend their time in jail. We need to show society that this is not part of our culture. Laws and penalties should be deterrent enough,” said Shingirirai Chikazhe, Executive Director of the National Junior Council Association of Zimbabwe.
This comes after a nine-year-old girl from Tsholotsho gave birth at United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), while an 8-year-old girl from Kambira village in Bindura was allegedly raped and impregnated by two teenage boys.