Local news

MPs worry over delays in handling rape victims

By Staff Reporter

LEGISLATORS have implored government to avail adequate transport resources to under-equipped rural police stations which are often forced to delay sending rape victims for medical examination in hospitals due to transport problems.

Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka (pictured) was first to raise the concern in a question she directed to Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu during a sitting this past week.

Mahoka asked the minister, what government policy was regarding young children who were being raped in rural areas.

“At times, these police office come to the scene and take these youngsters for investigations after two days whereby the evidence would have been erased because these children would have been bathed.

“So, what are you going to do to supply the police with the cars so that they can respond quickly when reports are made?” she said.

Goromonzi West legislator Beata Nyamupinga also asked what government was doing in terms of giving awareness to the victims of rape and those who are likely to be victims especially on how to look after themselves immediately after rape ordeals.

“No one has ever gone out there to tell them that do not bathe, do not do this and do not do the other,” she said.

“In the end, all the evidence is gone by the time they get to court.  So it is the issue of awareness that I am talking about.

“We want to know what the Ministry of Home Affairs is doing through mapurisa, shamwari dzevanhu, giving awareness to the people.”

Minister Mpofu could however not commit himself to an immediate response saying he had only been transferred to the Home Affairs Ministry and was only going to acquaint himself with internal affairs once he completed the hand-over-take-over with then outgoing minister Ignatius Chombo.

He was immediately rebuked by Norton legislator Temba Mliswa who insisted the minister’s excuse of not answering questions was invalid adding that he must still commit himself to a response.

“Handover takeover has got nothing to do with children who are suffering, who are being raped.

“I think they must discharge their duties honourably.

“By the President appointing him the Minister of Home Affairs, he bestowed the power in him to respond to questions because it is going to take too long for handover,” Mliswa said.

Rape remains a rampant crime in Zimbabwe with a Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat) report 2016 indicating that at least 21 local women were being raped daily in Zimbabwe, translating to one woman being sexually violated every 75 minutes.

Gender activists and women’s organisations contended that over 60 percent of sexual abuse of women cases recorded in the country yearly were children below the age of 16.

They argued that the cases could be more than what is recorded as a number of victims were not reporting their cases due to fear.

Gary Murambiwa
the authorGary Murambiwa