By Tendai Makaripe
POLICE in Bindura Wednesday arrested a 64-year-old man over allegations of raping four minor children aged between 10 and 14 years.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) confirmed the arrest.
“The ZRP confirms the arrest of a Bindura man (64) for rape cases involving four minors aged 14, 10, 11, and 10. The suspect raped the victims who are related to his wife on different occasions,” the police said in a statement.
Details of the alleged crime are still sketchy.
Issues concerning raping of minors and early child marriages have proven to be a serious challenge in the country with children rights activists calling the upon government to step up efforts and deal with the menace.
The raping of these Bindura minors comes at a time the country is still trying to come to terms with the tragic story of 14-year-old Memory Machaya who recently died while giving birth at an Apostolic church shrine in Marange, Manicaland province.
She had been married off to an older member of Zimbabwe’s Apostolic Church who impregnated her.
Marrying of minors and having sexual intercourse with them is tantamount to rape and contravenes Section 26 of the Constitution which provides that: “No marriage is entered into without the free and full consent of the intending spouses… children are not to be pledged in marriage.”
Zimbabwe is also party to a number of regional and international conventions that seek to protect the rights of children like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and Universal Declaration of Rights among others but the political will to address the problem has been questionable.
Analysts have accused the government of being slow in dealing with rape and child marriage issues particularly when they involve members of the Marange Apostolic church because it is a religious clique believed to be sympathetic to the ruling party.