Children-focused politicians

Politicians should prioritise the rights of children because they are the most vulnerable to abuse and marginalisation, the junior mayor of Harare, Maxwell Katunga has said.

“In order for the rights of children to be respected then those in power should suffer for abusing them. That is how the rights of children should be upheld in this country. Why should people vote for someone who does not have the rights of children at heart?” said Katanga.

Many young people are not attending school due to lack of funds and the cash strapped government of Zimbabwe is failing to provide safety nets for those who slip through the gaps.

According to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and also Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Zimbabwe is signatory, the right to education includes the right to free, compulsory primary education for all. However, this remains a pipe dream for many children in Zimbabwe.

Kathy Stewart, the Community Publishing Coordinator of African Community Publishing and Development Trust, an organization that specializes in publications for children, believes Zimbabwe still has a long way to go so as to ensure that children’s rights are respected.

“We have a very long way to go in terms of children’s rights, children suffer the most and because there are silenced they carry the biggest weight in Africa,” said Stewart.

Among pieces of legislation that have been put in place by the government to protect the rights of children are the Protection and Adoption Act, Public Health Act and the Public Assistance Act. Legislative changes such as the Legal Age of Majority Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act are specifically aimed at enhancing the statues of girls.

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