Govt alarmed at rising rape cases

Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
Government is worried over the number of rapes of women and children despite deterrent sentences imposed on culprits to curb the crime. Acting Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Dr Samuel Undenge said gender based violence, particularly rape of women and children, was a major challenge in Zimbabwe.

He made the remarks while addressing a Press conference to mark the International Day of Families in Harare last week.

“Rape is destabilising the family unit because in most cases, the perpetrator and the victim are usually related,” said Minister Undenge who is also Energy and Power Development Minister.

“Fathers are raping their daughters and grandfathers are raping their granddaughters. These cases are being reported almost on a daily basis in all the newspapers.”

According to the ZRP 2014 report, a total of 10 982 cases of rape were reported, which is a marginal increase from 2013.

He blamed such acts on weakening family ties.

Minister Undenge said in addition to rape, families were facing various challenges that included poverty, migration and high divorce rates.

He, however, said his ministry was implementing various programmes guided by the economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) to address the challenges.

“My ministry has developed a family law handbook and various pamphlets to inform and educate community members on various family issues,” he said.

“I am happy to report that these have been translated into various local languages and have been distributed widely. We believe that people should be empowered through dissemination of information.”

This year’s commemorations will be held under the theme “Highlighting the positive role of men in the family in Zimbabwe’.

The International Day of Families is celebrated worldwide on May 15 every year. However, this year’s national event would be held in Masvingo on May 21.