The Herald (Harare)

14 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Call to Impose Stiffer Penalties On Rapists

Hurungwe — Government should impose stiffer penalties on child rapists including castration and long prison terms as a solution to the vice that has devastated lives and hopes of many children, an official has said.

Zanu-PF Mashonaland West Provincial chairlady Cde Constance Shamu said this while addressing hundreds of women who gathered at Magunje Growth Point for the belated commemoration of International Women's Day on Friday.

Cde Shamu said the current custodial sentences on rapists were not deterrent enough as some perpetrators had the potential of repeating the offences upon release from jails.

"Even if such perpetrators are locked up in jail for 30 years, they have the potential of getting back to their old tricks when they complete their sentences. Government must consider the burdizzo (device for castrating bulls). I feel this will put an end to this scourge.

"President Mugabe last year also proposed this. I think it is the most deterrent penalty of all the options at our disposal. This view should be forwarded to (Woman's Affairs Gender and Community Development Minister) Mai (Oppah) Muchinguri," she said.

Cde Shamu thanked President Mugabe and Government for bringing changes that have subsequently emancipated women from several forms of injustices particularly through the introduction of the Domestic Violence Act, Equals Pay Legislation, Legal Age of Majority Act and the Labour Relations Act among others. She hailed the new Constitution, which she said put men and women on the same footing, hence this year's theme, "Celebrating women's gains through constitutional provisions".

Cde Shamu urged women in Hurungwe to take up lucrative ventures like mining, which over the years had remained the preserve of men, saying under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), men and women should work side by side for the development of the country.

Hurungwe District Administrator Ms Tsana Chirau said she was happy that women were fairly represented in key leadership posts in the district.

"While I hold the office of the DA, we also have two female MPs in the district, Cde Sarah Mahoka for Hurungwe East constituency and Cde Goodluck Kwaramba for Hurungwe constituency (women's quota).

"At the Hurungwe Rural District Council we also have two women heading the Social Services Department and that of Agriculture and Natural Resources while Karoi GMB and the Department of Lands are also headed by women. I can't enumerate them all, in fact there are various key posts now in the hands of women in the district, this is highly commended," she said.

Cde Shamu thanked Mrs Miriam Kagoro, head of the Department of Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development in the area for organising a successful event that brought together women from Hurungwe's five constituencies for the first time in history. She also donated household utensils and linen which were later used as prizes in a modelling show also held during the same occasion.

International Women's Day commemorations are held annually on March 8 across the world to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women, while also focusing attention on areas that need improvement.

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