Castrate child rapists, say MPs
The Ministry of WomenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Affairs, Gender and Community Development has said it is may consider castration as a form of punishment for people who rape children.
Gender Minister Olivia Muchena yesterday told the House of Assembly that castration was an option that might be "seriously" considered. This was after MPs had unanimously adopted the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development. At least 10 MPs rose to contribute to the debate that Minister Muchena had introduced.
All supported the motion, though just a day before there was chaos in the chamber when the MPs heckled each other and Zanu-PF legislators walked out en masse after accusing their MDC-T counterparts of denigrating President Mugabe.
Some of those who contributed said people who rape young girls should be castrated in addition to imprisonment. In her response to the contributions, Minister Muchena said she would look at the castration proposal.
"Yes, we need to seriously look at the option of castration for those who rape minors. Just as we have different levels of punishment, the same should be applied on those who rape children.
"How do you rape a child? It should be treated like first degree murder and have castration as part of punishment," said Minister Muchena.
Masvingo Urban Member of the House of Assembly, Mr Tongai Matutu (MDC-T) — who sparked the Zanu-PF walkout the previous day — was the first to propose castration.
Minister Muchena said the Protocol, which was signed by Sadc members in South Africa in August 2008, sought to eliminate all forms of gender-based discrimination.
Minister Muchena said while Parliament was ratifying the Protocol, Zimbabwe had already implemented most of the issues that it sought to address, such as the Legal Age of Majority Act that recognises women as adults and not as minors.
In his contribution, Mr Matutu said it was pertinent that the Protocol be domesticated in Zimbabwean laws.
"It is quite critical that the issue of gender mainstreaming be taken seriously. You need to educate MPs on the implications of what they are being asked to ratify.
"Ratification is not enough without implementing it through domestication," he said.
Other MPs who contributed to the motion were Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara who said the country needed to instill a value system of respect for women.