Abuse scandal exposes Murambatsvina

children_displacedBULAWAYO The social crisis caused by the infamous Operation Murambatsvina has created a child abuse scandal, a controversial documentary will reveal. According to the unreleased documentary, over 106 orphans at Lockview Primary School were sexually abused. 15 of them tested HIV positive after they were allegedly raped by close relatives. (Pictured

The documentary is a brainchild of Bulawayo film maker, Thandazani Nkomo, who has indicated that his idea is to prompt authorities into action through the production. Lockview draws its pupils from the nearby peri-urban plots where victims of the government-sponsored Operation Murambatsvina of 2005 are taking refuge. Under Murambatsvina illegal houses and structures in urban and peri-urban areas were destroyed and the occupants were left homeless, resulting in many of them finding their way to the illegal settlements outside towns where they had no access to health and sanitary facilities.

It is also understood that the cholera pandemic which swept across the country late last year and early this year, leaving nearly 4000 dead, was a result the manifestation of these settlements, among other things. Co-ordinator of the Coalition Against Child Labour Zimbabwe, Pascal Masocha, said the findings were just the tip of the iceberg as there were likely to be more of such cases among the displaced people both in urban and farming communities. Such incidences are to be condemned in the strongest terms; there is need to ensure mechanisms to provide decent accommodation for people in these communities, said Masocha.

We fear these children are likely to drop out of school where they become more vulnerable to further abuse and this is the last thing that we want to happen, added Masocha. It is our hope that the new constitution must incorporate childrens rights such that we do not have continuous cases of the children’s future being jeopardised by loose policies. According to the findings, 350 of the 366 pupils come from families that shared a single room, which might explain the abuse.

Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle

African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPCCAN) Director, Aaron Zinyanya, castigated the government for its Operation Garikai/ Hlalani Kuhle which he says did not benefit those with genuine need for accommodation. Operation Garikai was a housing project which came as a response to over 700 000 people who were displaced under Operation Murambatsvina.

We call for these abusers to be brought to book as soon as possible and we also need to see the Victim Friendly Units being capacitated to handle such cases, said Zinyanya. Justice for Children Trust (JCT) Programmes Director Caleb Mutandwa implored the government to allow Non Governmental Organisations speedy access to deal with the cases. Last week Tabitha Khumalo, who is Member of Parliament for the area, said there were a lot of child-headed families, children staying with relatives and most of these children have confirmed that they were sexually abused at one point or another.

According to Khumalo some of the children do not report the cases of sexual abuse because the perpetrators are the providers of accommodation, food and school fees. Childine Public Relations Officer Patience Chiyangwa said the cases of child sexual abuse are deplorable and unacceptable. She urged NGOs dealing with child rights issues to come up together to stand up against any forms of abuse.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *