Harare West legislator Jessie Majome said there was no reason to celebrate when a rogue who raped 23 women was sentenced to 230 years in jail because the sentence was too lenient. The effective jail term was just 10 years for each rape.
Presenting a motion in which she called for the mandatory rape sentence to be raised to a minimum of at least 30 years, Majome said it was a travesty that stock thieves and robbers were getting higher sentences than rapists.
She said her research had indicated that the highest sentence passed by the courts on a rapist was 17 years but five were suspended.
Her research had also shown that there was also a low conviction rate for rape. Only a third of those hauled before the courts in January and February 2013 were convicted. The majority were acquitted.
Full motion speech:
MANDATORY SENTENCE FOR RAPE
MS. MAJOME: I move the motion standing in my name that;
- NOTING that the 16 days of activism against gender based violence began on 25 November and ended on 10 December 2013, the International Human rights Day under the theme End Violence Against Women: Fight Militarism;
- DISTURBED by the high rate of apprehension, conviction and sentencing of perpetrators of gender based violence;
- CONCERNED by the low rate of gender based violence in Zimbabwe, i.e. against women and girls, particularly since January last year (2013) 1050 women have been raped;
- CONCERNED by the absence and lack of crime forensic experts in Zimbabwe, as well as the lack of forensic rape investigation kits;
- FURTHER DISMAYED by the lenient sentences passed against rapists, given a possible life sentence;
- COGNISANT that at the launch of last year’s 16 days of activism campaign, Government launched the National Gender Based Violence Strategy 2012-2015 whose four key result areas are Prevention, Service Provision, Research, Documentation, Evaluation and Coordination.
NOW, THEREFORE, resolves that;
- there be legislated a mandatory sentence for rape, including statutory rape, of not less than thirty years and appropriate sentences for other forms of gender based violence.
- the Government immediately engages adequate services of forensic scientists for purposes of investigating rape.
- the Government immediately and continually equips all police stations with forensic investigation rape kits
- the Government immediately crafts, adopts and implements with stakeholders and action plan, with a budget, of the Zimbabwe National Gender Based Violence Strategy; 2012-2015.
*MRS. MATIBENGA: I second.
MS. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to attempt to move this august House to pass a motion that seeks to improve Zimbabwe’s official response to all forms of gender based violence. This motion is motivated by the annual 16 days commemoration of gender based violence. It is celebrated every year from the 25th November to the 10th of December, that is, International Human Rights Day. This motion was meant to be debated last year during 16 days of activism but, it does not matter because the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, about three years ago, had already taken the position that Zimbabwe shall move from the 16 days of activism against gender based violence and ensure that instead, in Zimbabwe, there should be a 365 day commemoration and titling of gender based violence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, last year’s theme was called “end violence against women, fight militarism,” which militarism being the use of force and the use of arms, a manner that is a preferred means of achieving objectives that ultimately ends up harming women. Not a day goes by without some sordid and heart rending reports in our daily media of some excruciating and callous gender based violence, mainly against women. The objective of this motion is to attempt to attain and approximate gender justice for survivors and victims of gender based violence. Some of the victims are not fortunate enough to survive the attacks and are buried in numerous graves around our country.
I want to begin by citing a very sad state of affairs that I hope this august House will work to contradict. It is a quotation by one person, a legal scholar called Catherine Mackinnon who was a professor and a feminist writer in the United States of America. She says that, “the law sees and treats women the way men see and treat women”. Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to hasten to say that the whole legal and legislative response of gender based violence is unfortunately like this. There seems to be a law ascribing of value to the bodies of women and indeed, to their feelings and to their status. This is so because our law does not seem to adequately deal with and prevent gender based violence.
There was another one also who said, “throughout the centuries, man has been the master of the law and woman, its mistress”. It is my hope that this august House sees it fit for Zimbabwe to move from this unfortunate position and abide by the tenets of our brand new Constitution that unequivocally enshrines gender equality in all aspects of life, particularly in Section 17 and all other sectors.
Mr. Speaker, it had been my hope to project my power point presentation for the convenience of members of this august House. But, I was advised that I could not do so. It is my sincere hope that this Parliament does soon take measures to move with the times and embrace the use of Information Communication Technologies because, this is indeed the way that people now communicate. There is simply no harm in projecting what I am using here to the august House. I hope that it is a process that will go through.
I want to begin by just defining what gender based violence is, because sadly, the gender based violence is sometimes and unfittingly so a bart of jokes in bars, bus stops and lots of places. People joke about things yet there are women who die in this country. Children and also men die from gender based violence. I believe it is important that members of this august House get to also understand and work with the technical definition for gender based violence.
Gender based violence is violence. Gender based violence is defined as any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed gender differences between males and females. This definition is from the United Nations Inter Agency Standing Committee. This definition shows that gender based violence is about a person. The person can either be a male or female but it is based on socially ascribed roles. I do hope that hon. members of this august House, whether they are males or females, may be moved to support this motion because it seeks for us to reach a point of absolute zero tolerance towards gender based violence.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that 99% of the victims and survivors of gender based violence are women and the majority of perpetrators are men. Be that as it may, the important thing is for us to reach zero tolerance. We do not want any women suffering gender based violence or any men whatsoever. We want a peaceful Zimbabwe.
Gender based violence includes violence against women and it also includes matters such as intimate partner violence, physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse, controlling behaviour in marriage and other relationships, rape and sexual assault, sexual coercion and harassment, child marriage, harmful practices such as the pledging of girls into marriage, practices of widow cleansing that are sometimes against women’s will, forced inheritance of widows and forced virginity testing. It also includes trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Mr. Speaker Sir, please allow me to turn to the magnitude of the problem of gender based violence that is in our society. From a global point of view and also national point of view, the prevalence of gender based violence is rising. Globally, at least one in five women has been reported that they will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. This is from studies that were done in population reports by a researcher called Heiss. One in five women globally, report to have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 15.
Coming to our home country Zimbabwe, our very own ZRP reported that between January and October 2013, 3 421 rapes were reported to the Police. The Director of Public Prosecution in November last year advised that 1 059 rapes had been taken to the Prosecution Authorities for prosecution last year and this, Mr. Speaker Sir, is only a tip of the iceberg because rape is notorious for being one of those most under reported crimes. Less than 20% of any of the rapes that occur are ever reported.
I will now turn to the impact of gender based violence in the hope that hon. members of this esteemed House will move to ensure that Zimbabwe adopts those measures that improve and increase our national official response to gender based violence. It is disturbing to note that the UN Millennium Project found that the toll on the health of women from violence against women is bigger than that of traffic accidents and malaria combined. Further on, that violence against women kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer does, which is also becoming a scourge.
As far as the economic impact of gender based violence, a study was conducted right here in Zimbabwe by Msasa Project in 1999 and found that the cost in Zimbabwe annually, of treating gender based violence to women is US$2bn. That is the total cost per year of adding up all the money that women who suffer from gender based violence need to spend in order to get services and so on. It goes without saying that the opportunity cost to Zimbabwe of these very high cost of gender based violence is worth considering because we have just passed our budget and this money that is used in the nation to mitigate the fall out effects of gender based violence can be used better elsewhere.
Gender based violence is a security issue. If one in every four women is under attack, it is a serious cause for concern. Also men of whatever number are also under attack, it is also grave cause for concern. Gender based violence has other social implications such as that – I was advised by the adult rape clinic that is at Parirenyatwa Hospital when I was researching for this motion. They advised me that 6% of the survivors of rape that come to their clinic are pregnant.
Imagine 6% of a population of raped women becoming pregnant and carrying unwanted babies. In 2013 the adult rape clinic saw 14 of the survivors who came to them with pregnancies from the rapes. Four out of the five requested termination of pregnancy in terms of the Termination of Pregnancy Act and were granted. That means the other 10 carried pregnancies and now have children that came from rapes.
I want to turn to my own constituency, Harare West which has also motivated me to move this motion. I find most unfortunately that in Harare West Constituency, just less then 10km from this august House, from time to time there erupt, there, some of the most heinous cases of gender based violence that we read of in the press. In 2007, a woman called Charity Sabau was shot point blank by her former husband over a dispute over former matrimonial estate and she is buried at Warren Hills cemetery. A child was abducted at Emerald Hills and found a few metres from their home in the morning.
In September last year, there was a couple that died in St Andrews Park in Mabelreign where the woman burnt her husband. She poured some substance that is inflammable, lit him up and locked him in a room. She then took poison and both of them died and have left orphaned children. The case of the infamous Pastor Gumbura is another one that is there in Harare West Constituency. Just this Saturday, 27 year old Harare westerner was raped at about 8:45 p.m. when she was coming from work right at the corner of St Athanus and Lomagundi Roads because of the lack of service delivery, there is tall uncut grass, no street lighting, no police patrols and no public transport. She was raped and she is going through counselling and treatment at the moment.
I point this out to indicate that this problem is real and in any of our constituencies, there are women who are being raped either as they are going to fetch water, firewood, walking from bus stops, some are raped in work places and so on. It is my plea that hon. members of this august House will move to resolve to take these measures, that in my humble view, will help to mitigate gender based violence.
Why the motion? Firstly, the prayers of the motion are because of three things. The first is that we have a weak legislative and legal response to rape and other forms of gender based violence. The sentences that are passed for all forms of gender based violence including rape are very lenient. Rape is the ultimate violation and I have taken that as the one that we focus on. My survey has found out that on average, a convicted rapist will be sentenced to 10 years usually. This is very strange because if you look at the sentences for robbery, they are exactly the same. A robber who steals from me, who breaks into my house and steals my old black and white television set that I have to bang to show pictures will be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and a person who rapes me will also be sentenced to the same. I cannot, for a minute,
Mr. Speaker Sir, imagine that the value of some properties will be worth the same value as my rights to be non- violated. Unfortunately, this is the trend of sentencing. Again, Mr. Speaker Sir, sentences for rape are actually less than that for stock theft, cycle theft, car theft as well as aggravated indecent assault. What is the reason for that? Mr. Speaker Sir, the Stock Theft Act provides that if a person steals either any livestock, meaning a sheep, goat, pig, poultry, ostrich, pigeon, rabbit, a bovine or equine animal or any domesticated game, or even the carcass, or the portion of any carcass of any slaughtered livestock; even a skin, a hide, a horn or an egg of livestock; they shall be sentenced to a sentence that is not less than nine years in prison but not more than 25 years in prison. That is the reason why Mr. Speaker Sir, such sentences for stock theft are higher because there is a minimum threshold. Courts cannot sentence a stock thief for less than nine years because the law says so.
When we look at rape, Mr. Speaker Sir, it came to me as a surprise, I had actually forgotten, I should know, having been legally trained but I think I can be forgiven for being shocked because the sentencing pattern of rape shows such less sentences that I had forgotten that Section 65:1 of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act actually provides that when a person is convicted of rape, they shall be liable “to imprisonment for life or any shorter period”. Mr. Speaker Sir, at the beginning I referred to a quotation that says “the law treats women in the way men treat and see women”.
Mr. Speaker Sir, attitudes of the low value placed on women have gone to a result where by the Courts look at the lesser sentences, such that with a single rapist who has been convicted has ever been sentenced to life imprisonment, the average is just ten years, nothing more yet courts can actually go to sentence a person to life imprisonment. It has simply not happen because of these attitudes. In my respectful view, Mr. Speaker Sir, by setting a sentence that does not go below 30 years, that will deal with low sentences because Courts would have no choice but to sentence 30 years and upwards, so that we that set a lower ceiling, in the same way the Stock Theft Act is passed. Much has been said of the sentence of the recent rogue, who raped more than 23 women right here in Hatfield. Mr. Speaker Sir, he was sentenced to 230 years. It was in Epworth, Hatfield and Queensdale, he was sentenced 230 years and there was cause for celebration. Mr. Speaker Sir, I personally find no cause for celebration. That sentence is very lenient because it translates to an average of 10 years per count. He was convicted of 13 counts of rape, it goes back to that 10 years per count.
What is also interesting is that, I went and perused the Criminal Book Register at the Regional Court which has the jurisdiction for rape sentences as I was preparing for this motion. I was doing three things; I wanted to just understand the trend for sentencing to see whether my suspicion that the sentences are lenient is correct. Number two, I also wanted to find out what the rate of conviction is like. Mr. Speaker Sir, I came across some very sad findings. I did indeed confirm that sentences are low. The average is 10 years. I looked at the months of January and February, 2013 in the Book of Register for Harare Regional Court which shows all the cases that went through that Court during this same period last year. I found that the highest sentence that was sentenced in that case was just 17 years but five years suspended. That was the maximum, I also found that Mr. Speaker Sir, it is more likely that a person who appears in our rape courts is acquitted than convicted.
I found the very low rate of conviction. In January 2013, only 15 out of the 25 rape, indecent assaults and other sexual offences trials that went at the Regional Magistrates Court in Harare, only 15 of the 25, that is 60%; were the ones that had convictions. The rest of them were either acquitted or further remanded, refused or they just did not end, 15 were acquitted. In February 2013, there were 42 cases acquitted out of the 64 that went through that court. That is 65% were acquitted, giving an average for those two months of just 62% acquittals and 32% convictions. Mr. Speaker Sir, I also want to indicate that, going back to the sentences, there are very serious discrepancies in the law and procedure as far as sentencing is concerned.
As I indicated, Section 65:1 of the Criminal Code, allows a maximum sentencing of life imprisonment. However, rape trials are routinely handled by the Magistrates Courts, that is the Regional Magistrate who has the highest criminal jurisdiction. In terms of the Magistrates Courts Act, that is Chapter 7.10 Section 51:4 of the Magistrates Courts Act gives a ceiling to a Regional Magistrate. A Regional Magistrate is not allowed to sentence a person to beyond 20 years in prison. The Criminal Code, Mr. Speaker Sir, provides that a rapist can be sentenced to life imprisonment and this is clearly an anomaly that this august House needs to address because if the legislature already finds it fitting that a rapist must go to jail for life, surely the rest of the law must be allowed, such that a rapist is able to be sentenced to that maximum sentence.
In the Gumbura trial, Mr. Speaker Sir, I attended because of my interest in this motion. The learned Magistrate who presided there lamented that his hands were tied. While the State was seeking for maximum sentence, was seeking for life imprisonment or maybe 100 years or so; the Magistrate indicated that “until the Legislature addresses the issue of jurisdiction of the Magistrates Courts Act, the Regional Magistrate will continue to sentence up to 20 and cannot sentence up to life”. He went on to say that what prosecution was asking for, that is a sentence to the ceiling, is like asking a little boy to do the work of a man, that is what he said. I hope that hon. members of this august House will heed this and actually intervene in the manner prescribed by the Constitution.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there are wide discrepancies and unevenness in sentencing. Again, Mr. Speaker Sir, the other reason for this motion is that, in terms of the low rates, I indicated that there is only 37% conviction rate in all the rape cases that went in January and February, 2013 in Harare. I do not want to think that the trend is higher. It is more likely that a rapist will be convicted after having gone to court, after the victim takes the courage of reporting this. Why is that Mr. Speaker Sir, the reason why these cases get thrown away and why rapists get off the hook is because we continue to use these poor primitive and inefficient investigation methods. We do not use scientific evidence such as DNA.
We overly rely on viva voce evidence, the evidence of witnesses. Sometimes victims get threatened, sometimes they will not be believed for all sorts of reasons. Mr. Speaker Sir, if we were to use just DNA analysis, I will give an example of about 4 years ago. I do not think hon. members will remember, there was a very sad story of an 80 year old woman from Zaka, I believe, who was reported that she was raped whilst she was in her hut at night. A rapist came tried to break the door, he could not enter. He went through the roof and removed the thatching, he went in and raped her and disappeared. Mr. Speaker Sir, that rapist has not been caught up to date. The simple reason is that, we are failing to embrace technology. We are not using DNA testing and analysis in order to catch rapists like this. There will be such higher conviction rates. I was advised that unfortunately our forensic laboratories are not able to conduct DNA analysis since at least 2009. All they are able to do is to conduct rudimentary microscopy analysis that can establish whether or not there is seminal fluid but they cannot conduct DNA tests.
Mr. Speaker Sir, again the police have to collect evidence in the form of rape kits for analysis at the labs but they are unable to use them as they are just being piled there because there is simply no DNA analysis; they are just storing them. There is also erratic and poor management of the supplies of the rape investigation kits. I am aware that in the last six months, in Harare at least, there were no rape kits that the police could use.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a rape kit is a very simple thing. It is simply a device in an A4 brown envelope for collecting tissue samples for analysis for evidence. It has the following six things (i) a comb to comb for pubic hair of the perpetrator that he might have left behind (ii) a vile for the survivors’ blood (iii) two swabs to get fluids and tissues from the vulva/vagina of the victim (iv) two glass slides that will be smeared on by the swabs and then subjected to analysis by a microscope (v) a toothpick for scrapings from the fingernails of the victim in case she might have scratched the rapist and that would be useful DNA analysis. And if the perpetrator has also forced the victim/survivor to engage in oral sex, there is also a swab for the survivor to sample her saliva so that DNA analysis can also be done and also clothing samples. Unfortunately, sometimes these rape kits are simply not available.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the third reason for the motion is that in November 2012, I remember because I was then the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development. The ministry launched a very important document, the Zimbabwe National Gender Based Violence Strategy for 2015 to 2020. This is a very comprehensive strategy that was well thought out that if Zimbabwe was to implement maybe 20% of this strategy, we would reduce our prevalence by a wide margin.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the aim of this strategy is to reduce all forms of gender based violence by 20% by the year 2015. Today is the 5th of February, 2014 and there are a few months to get to 2015 but alas we have not adopted any action plan to implement this strategy and time is running out. Again, the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development has a target that this august House ratified. It provides that all SADC member States must, by the year 2015 have adopted strategies to ensure that we reduce gender based violence by 50%. This strategy was pragmatic; it noted that gender based violence prevalence between the years 2009 to 2011 reduced by 6% in Zimbabwe. So, it realised that to go by the SADC 50% target might not be very realistic and reduced the target to 20%.
Mr. Speaker Sir, because we have not yet adopted/devised any plan with a budget to do this, we are not even going to meet the 20%. This is the other reason for the motivation of this august House to urgently call upon the Government to devise an action plan together with stakeholders and with a budget, despite the little money that was allocated to the ministry so that we start implementing this strategy.
Mr. Speaker Sir, this strategy has four Key Result Areas (KRAs). The first one is the prevention of gender based violence. There are detailed, well thought out strategies of how to do this, we need to adopt actions in relation to the KRAs; secondly, it is the provision of services to survivors of gender based violence because clearly they need it. The learned Magistrate in the Gumbura trial actually implored upon the Prosecutors to ensure that the survivors of that rape get counselling and other psycho-social support. The Key Result Area of this strategy aims at that.
The third Key Result Area is for research, data collection as well as monitoring and evaluation of efforts in order to make sure that this is implemented. The number four KRA is that of coordination of all efforts of all people and agencies that work towards ending gender based violence.
I just want to brush through some practical problems that I gathered from my research at the Adults Rape Clinic. I mentioned that there has not been DNA analysis for more than six years. Secondly, survivors of rape have to pay for treatment in many health institutions. They are required to personally pay for treatment after they have been raped. For example, they will pay US$10.00 to be examined immediately after being raped; they are required to pay US$20.00 for a pregnancy scan and also for the duration of their hospitalisation and medication if they are required to conduct a pregnancy termination for the two to three days and that is a travesty.
We also need to send information that survivors of rape must report to the police or to a hospital within 72 hours. I mentioned the erratic supply of rape kits at Police Stations. Most Police Stations, if they are lucky, will have one rape kit but what happens if two or three women are raped during the month because they will not be able to cope. So, at least three rape kits are required. I must say, Mr. Speaker Sir, my own Police Stations in Harare West let me say, declined to give me information regarding this. I am hoping the Police General Headquarters is going to give me this information. It made me ask what would happen; unfortunately, I am just about 10 kilometers from the Police General Headquarters. If I, as the Member of Parliament for Harare West Constituency wrote a letter on the 15th of November, 2013 to the Officer-in-Charge of each of the three Police Stations in my constituency i.e. Marlborough, Mabelreign and Avondale Police Stations and asked for just three simple things.
I asked (i) I want an opportunity to distribute material on gender based violence from the Government and organisations at their Charge Offices during the 16 days of activism; (ii) I requested to meet the Victim Friendly Units so that I understand the trends of gender based violence in my constituency because I read of it in the press but I did not get a single reply from each Police Station. But, after pursuing this, I was then told by the Officer-in-Charge at Avondale Police Station that I must go to the District Headquarters. I then went to Mabelreign Police Station and was advised to go to the Police General Headquarters.
So, I just wonder for example, if an hon. Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho wants information on what the trend of gender based violence or any other crime in their constituencies is. Would they have to travel from Tsholotsho to Harare, which is some 500 to 600km away to Police General Headquarters? Mr. Speaker Sir, that does not auger well and that does not assist efforts to help us as legislators to fulfill our mandate and also deal with the national problems that are within our constituencies.
Mr. Speaker Sir, unfortunately, I was also told by the Adult Rape Clinic that one of the practical problems that mitigation for rape in particular are scarce is that Victim Friendly Units that are in Police Stations are open between 0800 hrs and 1600hrs from Monday to Friday. So, who will attend to the woman who decides, if I can say that, to be raped after 1600 hrs or is raped on a Saturday, Sunday or on a public holiday? The system is forgetting that women do not choose to get raped, they are raped at whatever time of day and as such, they must be able to access these victim friendly facilities.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to conclude by reminding hon. members of this august House of our duty in terms of the Constitution; that it will persuade us if we are not persuaded already, to pass this motion to ensure that there is a minimum of 30 years for rape and also a review of the other sentencing patterns for other forms of gender based violence so that we have appropriate stiff sentences with a minimum threshold such as the Stock Theft Act so that all sentences go above that.
Also that we resolve that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is assisted to assure that it continually and sufficiently equips each and every police station in Zimbabwe with not one but at least three rape kits. Also that the police and the investigating authorities are also facilitated to ensure that they are able to equip their scientific laboratories for forensic research so that they are able to conduct DNA tests, whether it involves hiring scientists or providing the regency and the technology.
Lastly, this legislature also ensures that this fast expiring National Gender Based Violence Strategy is immediately met with an action plan that is devised immediately by the Government together with stakeholders and that it is given funding to ensure that before 2015 is up, Zimbabwe will at least have been able to take some action plan in order to fulfil this very comprehensive strategy.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the reasons why I am calling on legislators is that we must remember that Section 119 of the Constitution gives us, as Parliament, the power to ensure that the provisions in the Constitution are upheld. These provisions include, in the Founding Principles, the requirement that all of our State institutions and organs such as Parliament, must do everything that they can to ensure that each Zimbabwean lives a prosperous, happy and fulfilled life. Survivors and victims of would-be gender-based violence are also some of the people whom we must ensure, by moving this motion, that they are also able to live prosperous, happy and fulfilled lives.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there are many sections in the Constitution including Section 25 that requires protection in the family. Section 52 talks about the right to security of the person including protection from all forms of violence, whether domestic or otherwise, freedom of movement and freedom of marriage against forced marriage. Section 30 speaks about the right to social security and care because this is the care of the survivors of this violence. Section 53 is about protection against torture and Section 54 is about protection from slavery and servitude which can be brought about by sexual violence and other forms of violence.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I would want to end my plea to the hon. Members of this august House by saying that, at the very least, if we will not abide by the law and if we will not be moved by what the Constitution requires of, at the very least let us be human. Let us remember that each and every legislator sitting here and outside is faced with this issue at a personal level. The females can also be raped but also the males can be subjected to sexual violence. This is all gender-based violence. Each of us has a daughter, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, a friend and a constituent. Hon. Members of Parliament, our constituents and our electorates also need to be protected from this violence, male as well as females.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as I indicated, setting the minimum threshold for rape to 30 years for the convicted will also benefit male survivors of gender based violence. Sentencing for male victims of gender based violence is pegged at the same level. The law provides that they shall be sentenced to the same level as the person who has been found guilty of rape would have been. So Mr. Speaker Sir, I am hoping that hon. male Members of Parliament will also see that this motion is also meant to protect the interest of men as well as women because it will reach us to zero tolerance.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is need to equip police stations with rape kits and forensic science investigations, as well as implementing this national gender based violence strategy. All in all, my plea is for hon. members of this august Assembly to pull together for peace on our bodies, in our homes, in our streets and at our markets, so that we eliminate gender based violence. By these responses, we will mitigate it.
Finally, it is about peace. In the Bible, Mathew Chapter 5: 9 says “blessed are the peace makers”. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.