By Daniel Chigundu
PEOPLE’S Democratic Party (PDP) has castigated Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Woman Affairs Minister Nyasha Chikwinya for failing to push legislation that bans child marriages despite Constitutional Court (Con Court) pronouncements.
In the case of Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi versus State, the Con Court ruled that marriage for people under the age of 18 years is illegal and also went on to set 18 as the legal age of consent.
However the Con Court ruling alone is deemed weak by legal experts who contend that it is not effective without aligning other subsidiary laws.
In a statement on the occasion of Day of the African Child, PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said his party is concerned by the state’s reluctance in putting finality to child marriage issues.
“While we in the PDP take great pride in the fact that president Tendai Biti put up a fight in the Constitutional Court standing on behalf of Loveness Mudzuru and Ruvimbo Tsopodzi resulting the abolishment of child marriages, we are however concerned with the state’s complacence.
“The failure by Chikwinya and Mnangagwa to push legislation to codify the pronouncement by the Con Court is in part aiding and abating the rise of child marriages in Zimbabwe.
“The failure by government to design and lead a campaign against child marriages is an indictment on Mnangagwa especially with his unbridled ambition to be president of this country. We condemn his habitual dereliction of duty coupled with power hunger distractions reflected by his focus on amending the constitution.
“The failure to uplift the Zimbabwean masses from dire poverty is an indictment on Mugabe and his whole team; we restate the point indicated in the multi sector indicators report of 2014 that poverty in Zimbabwe is directly linked to child marriages,” he said.
Mafume added that his party believes on the idea of equal opportunities, justice and fairness and that every young person must have access to quality education to be able to compete and be able to live self-determined lives.
“On the African continent and even worse Zimbabwe, education has been privatised, the quality has been taken away, and the African liberators turned oppressors now send their children abroad to access education while at home public institutions of learning continue to dilapidate.
“We are also aware of the fact that an extra 1.2 billion citizens will be on the African continent by 2050, we therefore state that Africa must create 150 million jobs annually in order to provide equal opportunities for all. It is time for visionaries to occupy top offices if transformation is to be realised.
“In this cycle we urge the Zimbabwean young person to embrace the spirit of the Soweto Heroes, depose of the Zimbabwean despots and pursue the goal outlined in section 8(1) of the Constitution.
Day of the African Child is commemorated every year on the 16th of June in remembrance of heroic acts by youth in the Soweto Uprising of 1976 against the apartheid regime in South Africa.
This year’s commemorations theme is “The 2030 Agenda for Children in Africa: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity.”-
By Daniel Chigundu