Child Rights Movement Statement in response to Johannes Tomana’s statements quoted in the Herald of 19 June 2015
We are seriously outraged by the careless utterances attributed to the Prosecutor General in relation to the debate on age of consent. While we are tempted to take his comments as personal, we are clear that his office does not allow him to make such contradictory statement in view of Zimbabwe’s position on childrens’ rights, and the campaign to end child marriages.
We are shocked to hear these utterances, a few days after the President, as SADC and AU Chairperson clearly outlined the official position. We believe this is lack of respect not just for the laws he is supposed to uphold but for the office of the Head of State and Government, President Robert Mugabe.
We stand in unity to condemn in the most serious sense the demonic statements attributed to a person whose word is seen as law.
Every girl deserves a chance, to become a fully productive adult woman and as the child and women’s rights sector, we call upon him to do an honourable thing and resign and if he does not, we call upon the president to fire him for bringing the law profession and the country into disrepute.
We also call for an immediate retraction of his statement.
Children should not be sacrificed for the non-functional economy, rather we call for those in decision making to address the socio-economic problems he has raised.
In view of the fact that some are taking advantage of the contradictions between the laws and the constitution, we call for the immediate alignment.
We also call for the immediate affirmation by the Justice Minister that the constitution is supreme.
We stand in unity to demonise what the Prosecutor General (PG) has been quoted to say in the media. Like every child, every girls has a vision for her future and the PG is destroying it by redirecting her future towards marriage. Patriarchy has SYSTEMATICALLY designed marriage as an achievement and the ultimate goal for every girl, which is ridiculous.
The PG’s position is untenable. These statements are indeed shocking, especially from such a high office mandated to ensure child protection and quite unfortunate at a moment like this where numerous strides are being made at many levels to address child marriages in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.
These are reckless personal statements that are not endorsed with the law. He takes upon himself the role of a psychologist who can then say with certainty that a 12 year old is capable of consent when he clearly does not understand the development stages of a human being.
A 12 year old is a minor who cannot decide a lot of things including; which school to go to, how to wash their privates and what clothes to wear. Now you want to entrust them with consent to have sex.
We as the child rights sector cannot intrust Zimbabwe’s law to a prosecutor general who is intertwined in the patriarchal discourse.
We are shocked that Tomana is supporting the milling of paedophiles around our children and we call for the magistrates to henceforth desist from sentencing rapists to community service.
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