The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations (UN Women under the Spotlight Initiative is conducting an investigation and public inquiry on child marriages, sexual exploitation and abuse of young girls in Zimbabwe.
In an interview, ZGC chief executive officer, Mrs Virginia Muwanigwa said they were calling on victims or witnesses to any acts of sexual exploitation, abuse and child marriages to present to the Commission.
“ZGC hereby calls on victims or witnesses to any acts of sexual exploitation, abuse and child marriages to present to the Commission in person, complaints and witnesses’ statements which can assist in the investigation,” said Mrs Muwanigwa.
“We are doing this as a follow up to some of the issues or the media reports that have been there like the Memory Machaya’s case last year but more importantly even outside of that case we are doing this so that we can gather adequate information to be able to make recommendations to Parliament on what need to be done to protect the children particularly those in danger of being sexually abused.”
She said the process as per the schedule was to start from 12 May to 9 June in provinces such as Manicaland, Harare, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Matabeleland South as the first phase.
Mrs Muwanigwa said before they came up with the process, they had hearings where they invited stakeholders to come to the ZGC offices and share with them any information that they had.
“Stakeholders like Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs National Prosecuting Authority, women’s right organisations like Musasa Project, Rozaria Memorial Trust and also some survivors of child marriages who just came and shared with us information on what is their experience.”
She said some of the stakeholders also provide information with regards to the policy framework, the practice and some of the challenges they need to include in their report.
Mrs Muwanigwa said they were doing the public hearings in phases and more were to be done soon so that the other provinces are also covered.
“We are doing this in a phased approach so this is the first phase that we are doing now because it depending on the resources so this is the first part in terms of the public hearing but we intend to cover all the provinces.”