‘Men who marry underage girls are rapists’

Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda has stated that men who marry minors should be treated as rapists. 

Deliberating in the August House recently, Adv Mudenda said the law is insufficient and it needs to be tightened to punish people who sexually violate young children. 

The suggestion was in response to Kadoma Central MP Muchineripi Chinyanganya who had raised concern over recurring cases of child marriages. 

Chinyanganya said people who marry minor children are no different from people who commit rape. 

“My point of national interest arises from the continued acts of child marriages that are being perpetuated by men, especially amongst the apostolic sects. Recently, there is a story of a 64 years old man who married a ten-year girl and the man belongs to the apostolic sect,” he said. 

“I implore the President of the country that when he goes to address those apostolic sects, he should speak out against child marriages which is rampant amongst those sects. I think if he does so, those members would really take heed of his words because as it stands we will not have the girl child developing and attaining their goals because they are being married at a tender age.”  

In response, Adv Mudenda said the responsibility should not only lie with the President but should be a collective effort for all lawmakers. 

“While it is good that you request that the State President addresses the apostolic sect about early child marriages, I thought you were going to include yourselves as Honorable Members as well to do the same, but more importantly, what seems to work is a law,” Adv Mudenda said. 

“You must look at the law in this House on early child marriages and perhaps come up with stiffer penalties. As you are going to address also yourselves on the Bill on Child Rights, perhaps that can be included as well to ensure that penalties are put in place for those who offend in that regard. As we debate and review our law, please take that into account and rally your views with your colleagues so that you have got a common approach to the issue.” 

MP for Kuwadzana East, Charlton Hwende said when someone has sexual intercourse with a ten-year-old it should not be treated as consensual but as rape. 

Adv Mudenda said the law is insufficient in terms of dealing with such issues and there is need to have strict laws to deal with such conduct. 

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