With the number of children under 10 that are getting pregnant on the increase, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health, has called on society not to just focus on the victims but to deal with the perpetrators as well.
He said this in Parliamernt just before it adjourned to next Tuesday when he was asked by legislator Ruth Labode to adopt the Kagame Effect which allows children to decide whether to keep the child or not, rather than leave that to their parents or guardians, should they fall pregnant.
Zimbabwe has recently witnessed an upsurge in the number of cases of pregnant girls under the age of 10 that are being reported.
A nine-year old has just given birth through caesarian section in Bulawayo while an eight-year-old from Bindura is said to be six months pregnant.
Chiwenga said the law was already there that said anyone below 18 was a child. Society should therefore protect children against abuse. The government could therefore not allow children to have access to contraceptives.
“What I thought the Hon. Member could have raised was, what is happening to the perpetrators?” Chiwenga said in response to Labode. “That matter is not being addressed and has not been addressed. We cannot address only the victim and leave the perpetrators going scot free.”
The Vice-President said the issue of immorality in society was not just an issue for the Ministry of Health.
“We come up with policies and that is why we presented in this august House Mr. Speaker, that we cannot have the issue of having children of 12 to 13 years going on their own to get contraceptives.
“We are on record saying this cannot be accepted, neither can we have children to say they consented when they are 16 years; we also said that is not acceptable. We go to majority age; 18 years.
“Therefore, as the law, we have pushed and this august House agreed. It is now a law that below 18 years, they are all children and this is what we must stick to.
“Now comes the issue of children being abused at school or lack of moralities, children start having children based families; that cannot be accepted; it is not morally correct.
“So, we are starting from this august House that we all have constituencies; we must use the structures from the kraalhead to the headmen, councillors, to make sure that people are educated.
“It is not for the Government to try alone, because these children have parents. They have both the father and mother in the house. What are we doing as parents?”