Tuesday 24 October 2017


NEWLY-APPOINTED Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Happyton Bonyongwe has flexed his muscles and threatened life jail sentences for rapists of minor children.

Addressing Beitbridge residents during an advocacy meeting organised by his ministry yesterday, Bonyongwe said a draft Bill against child marriages would be tabled before Parliament soon.

“The government is doing its best to protect the girl child in the wake of these disturbing trends. We have an amendment proposal seeking to have life sentences imposed on people convicted of raping minors,” he said.

Bonyongwe, a top government spy until his new appointment in the recent ministerial reshuffle, was on his first public appearance after assuming his new role as a Cabinet minister.

He said following concerns raised by various stakeholders, his ministry had proposed a life term in jail for paedophilia, a crime common in Zimbabwe.

Pedophilia is usually influenced by traditional beliefs and fuelled by some traditional healers who, at times, prescribe sleeping with minors as a cure for HIV.

Bonyongwe said his ministry had also proposed to have people who rape adults and elderly people caged for 40 years or more to curb the vice.

He also implored Zimbabweans to acquaint themselves with the new Constitution, which he said should be easy, considering the country’s high literacy rate estimated to be above 93%.

The former spy unit head distributed thousands of copies of the new Constitution, which he said his ministry had since translated into six of Zimbabwe’s 16 official languages, including Braille.

“It is our mandate to educate people on the new Constitution and programmes like this are ongoing,” he said.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Virginia Mabhiza explained the criteria used to realign the laws, saying they had started with human rights legislation.

“We then moved to electoral laws and then those that deal with our ministry, ” she said.

Mabhiza said other ministries were also tasked with compiling realignment draft Bills that concern them and later given to the Justice ministry for proper presentation.

She said the Justice ministry was working with departments of languages at six universities to complete the translation into all languages.


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