Tradititional leadership blamed for harboring child abusers

CHECHECHE-Tradititional leadership has been blamed for not doing much to protect children from forms of abuse, the Victim Friendly Court (VFC) has revealed.

Speaking at the launch of a child support awareness campaign at Checheche

Primary school in Chipinge recently, the VCF national coordinator, Mr Idine

Magonga, took a swipe at local tradititional leaders for harboring child

abusers in their community by not reporting such matters to the police.

“Chiefs are custodians of the law in rural areas and herdsmen have a

responsibility to brief chiefs on such matters,” he said.

He added:” There is an upsurge in cases of child abuse in this district,

despite people receiving 100 percent education from VFC”.

Magonga, however, warned members of the community to desist from framing up

sexual abuse cases against innocent people saying it is a serious offence.

He also said this year VFC was working towards adding protection to

vulnerable children in both rural and urban areas.

Magonga said they would lobby the courts to give same preference to child

abuse cases like cases such as stock theft and murder.

“We want courts to be accessible to victims and we want investigation for

such cases to expedited,”Magonga said, adding that the regional court will

now be visiting the district at least twice a month to fast track trial of

such cases.

Magonga said cases such as rape were still being referred to Mutare for

trial; therefore, a mobile court would be ideal until a circuit court was

formally set up in Chipinge.

The VFC Coordinator also took a swipe at tradititional healers, who endanger

lives of children by giving wrong advice to their clients.

According to statistics released by Manicaland VCF chapter chairperson and

Mutare regional magistrate, Hlekani Mwayera, Chipinge and Chimanimani

districts recorded highest number of child sexual abuse in the province.

She said more than 60 percent of cases received at Mutare Magistrate’s

Courts since last year were from two districts.

Mwayera said the two districts were followed by Marange with about 30

percent of cases, while other districts in the province accounted for the

remaining 10 percent.

VFC comprise of government ministries and various Non Governmental

organisations that caters for the welfare of children such as Save the

Children Norway, Help Line and Simukai.Ends.

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