By Fortunate Gora
Police say 408 cases involving the rape of minors were reported in Mashonaland West province last year, which represents a 10 percent decline from 455 cases registered in 2016.
But they believe the numbers are still alarmingly high.
Speaking at a client service charter re-invigoration exercise at Nyamweda Business Centre in Mhondoro recently, ZRP Senior Assistant Commissioner Felly Chikowero-Mjanga said the cases represented the general level of moral decay in society.
“Though our recent statistics are showing a decline in the rape cases, sexual abuse of minors is still worrisome, especially of those girls below 15 years of age,” she said.
“The sexual abuse of minors is of major concern to law enforcement agents as it shows how society has lost its values.”
Snr Asst Comm Chikowero-Mjanga expressed disgust that “close relatives such as uncles, neighbours, stepfathers and biological fathers” were the culprits.
Snr Asst Comm Chikowero-Mjanga also recounted a case of a girl who was allegedly abused by her stepfather, but died before the case was concluded at the courts.
“Last year, in this village, we lost a seven-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather while her mother was attending a funeral at a nearby village,” she said.
“The doctor confirmed that the stomach pains she was suffering were due to the abuse, but the most painful thing is she died before the trial.”
She implored legislators, traditional leaders and society at large to assist police in dealing with sex offenders.
“It is also important that we assist each other in preserving our cultural values to fight this heinous crime,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Chikowero-Mjanga said police will not hesitate to prosecute people who break the law, especially against minors.