Zimbabwe

Zim prosecutor general 'a danger to our girls'

2015-06-19 15:22

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Cape Town – Zimbabweans have taken to Twitter to express their disgust after the country’s prosecutor general Johannes Tomana made comments that seemed to suggest that girls as young as 12-years-old should be allowed to have sex and get married.

According to a state-owned newspaper, the Chronicle, Tomana said girls as young as 12-years-old had a right to be listened to by the courts if they wished to start families with older men.

Tomana said, at this age, girls were capable of giving consent to sex.

A New Zimbabwe.com report said Tomana felt that young girls out of school and with no prospect in life because of the dire socio-economic conditions in the country should be allowed to have sex.

Alternative engagements

"We’ve 9-year-olds, 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds who’re actually not in school, who’re not doing anything for example. What are we saying to them?...  We say you can’t even do this [have sex], when the environment is not giving them alternative engagements? What are we talking about?" Tomana was quoted as saying.

This, however sparked outrage on social media, with the former education minister David Coltart saying: "Tomana's comments show that the girl child can expect very little sympathy in our prosecutorial system & predatory men the opposite".

Coltart added: "In most democracies comments such as those made by Tomana would lead to them having to resign. #profoundlyshocked"

Chief K Masimba wrote: "No to Tomana's Perverted Thinking Child marriage jeopardises efforts to improve maternal and infant health..."

'Danger to our girls'

Another tweet from @Dambakuomnbera read: "Tomana is very good example why Zimbabwe needs leadership renewal."

Nyradzai said: "Tomana is a danger to our girls. He is unable to protect them constitutionally. 12 can never be allowed as age of [consent]."

This comes as media reports last week indicated that there was mounting outrage in the country after two men aged 35 and 29 were acquitted of rape after they had sex with a 15-year-old girl at a house in Bulawayo. The magistrate said the girl "did not scream" and "knew what she wanted".

The Zimbabwean law is not clear on the age of consent. A law expert, Alex Magaisa, told News24 recently that although the country's criminal code appeared to set the age of consent at 16, the law only provided "absolute protection" in cases of rape to a child who is under 12".

New Zimbabwe.com reported on Friday that most families in Zimbabwe were struggling to put food on the table and children were forced to drop out of school because parents could not afford to pay fees.

Read more on:    johannes tomana  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  child abuse

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