The opening of the 23rd Child Parliament session on June 20 2015 combined with the celebrations of the day of the African Child undoubtedly shaded light on how painful& unacceptable it is for a girl child to lose their freedom and rights to ”child marital horror” and life circumstances. An unpublished story of a 15 year old girl, who was forced to sleep outside the house by her own paternal mother because she asked of her to obtain a birth certificate for her, is not just a painful story but heart breaking. The inner pain and suffering of the child for justice just like millions of other children in Zimbabwe call for an open, just, reliable and secure system that must be readily available to assist children to fight for their rights.
Early marriages in Zimbabwe have been attributed to economic hardship, leak of self-actualization, the current Primary and Secondary curriculum, rape cases, being orphaned and in some cases peer pressure that results in unfortunate child to child marriages. The afflictions that come with the unfortified children rights that appear to be right on paper, has left so many children with no hope of a future, but forced to mature when the process of maturity is in its early/youthful stage. I believe that it is saddening to note that a child below the age of eighteen (18) has to bear in mind that others are going to school whilst, she stays home to breast feed. The stigma from friends, family and the society orchestrated by the leak of knowledge and our African setting has let to affected children drinking alcohol, using drugs, ill-treating their babies, suicidal and reckless in a bid to cope with stress.
This unfortunately is slowly becoming a life cycle in our society. Mount Pleasant Constituency Junior Member of Parliament (2015) highlighted the need for us as Zimbabweans to in act laws rather than stating them. Most children in Zimbabwe would agree that our stated laws are as toothless bulldogs to perpetrators. The call by the Honorable comes as an emergence tollgate for perpetrators and law enforcer’s amid reports that perpetrators go in and out of court without any just ruling or judgment. Rich prominent egotistic men& women alike are said to be getting away with ”murder” because they use their influence to buy pass the laws. This has now become hobby ”money being the final judge”. As alluded above, our current curriculum has and is playing a role in early marriages because of the in-class study evaluation analysis that has led to stigmatization of low in-class performing students.
Girls who perform below expectation are quickly married off because it seems to be their only hope to life according to the parents or guardian; this mainly takes center stage in rural areas. In urban areas it has become a common practice for female students& teachers to have an affair that goes beyond the class room, barter trade between female students and teachers (sexual favors) so as to get a favorable result on the report card. When the constitution of Zimbabwe was amended emphasis was put on women and women with children, which traditionally was the right way of dealing with children rights and protecting them under the wings of the mother. However l believes some crucial elements of reality were unknowingly omitted when the draft was being proposed.
The world by now knows that not all those who do miracles by Jesus’s name are of God, thus not all women who give birth are mothers and not all who father are fathers. This is evidenced by the mother daughter birth certificate and courts cases were fathers are accused of raping their own daughters and girls as young as fifteen being used for prostitution by their mother. In conclusion l strongly believe that though we call for a stop to child marriages and implementation of children rights, we need to look at the wider picture as children and take the burden upon ourselves to strive for economic development, social enlightenment, advocate for constitutional laws that favor us, and fight towards 0% tolerance to child abuse!