Children under siege

HARARE - Most people often cite having children or raising their families as one of the principal reasons for going to work or accumulating material possessions.

If people are not paid on time they are quick to point to the difficulties they will face in caring for their children.

Some parents had to leave their children behind in the past decade going into the Diaspora risking their lives or even selling all they had with the hope of building a firm foundation for their children.

Life would be meaningless if we did not have these little creatures who we love so much.

We love our children in the same way our fathers and mothers loved us and even if one did not experience such love they will always compensate by loving their own children.

Last week, I met a long time acquaintance who was taking his son to a kindergarten school early in the morning.

He was very excited about giving his son a better start in life than what he himself got.
Imagine what would happen to him if he was to be told at the end of the day that his son has been sodomised and found dead. Who would he possibly blame?

The easiest and obvious scapegoats will be the police or school authorities among others.

These groups would be blamed because they are to some extent responsible for ensuring that all is well in such cases.

While people are fond of blaming some of these groups it seems the issue of child abuse has really taken a new and complex dimension which law enforcement agencies alone cannot deal with.

Two tragic events last month left most people in Zimbabwe in a traumatic situation.
A 10-year-old girl Stacy Munjoma was raped and killed in the poor high-density suburb of Rugare in Harare.
There were touching moments when she was laid to rest at Warren Hills cemetery with fellow children and friends shell-shocked at the gruesome act.

It was really sad to see young children dressed in uniform paying their last respects, something not expected of them at their age.

All school children now feel very insecure, a factor which might traumatise them for the rest of their lives as they live in fear of being raped and not being sure of being alive tomorrow.

In another tragic event 12-year-old Christpower Simbarashe Maisiri was burnt to death in Headlands.
While the police ruled out foul play, the terrible history of Christpower and his sad demise sent shivers to all loving parents who want to see children grow and become what they dream to be.

Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sake of giving those who believe a new lease of everlasting life.

It was not so for Christpower who was born in the mountains with her mother running away from political violence and watched her mother being raped.

My son in grade two told me that he was told at school that if he had been raped he must tell the “teachers, daddy or mamma”.

This was in response to the increasing cases of murder and abuse of children which saw concerted efforts by the Victim Friendly Unit of the police going around primary schools educating teachers and young children to be alert and take preventive measures.

Police revealed that in the low density suburb of Hatfield there were six cases of parents who raped their own children, while in the crime-infested informal settlement of Epworth 90 cases of parents raping their own children had been reported this year.

In most cases the rapists will be HIV positive who wilfully infect children. More cases have been suppressed as some parents are paid to conceal such abuses.

Children are under siege in Zimbabwe right from the home; all caring parents should be more vigilant than ever before. - Wellington Gadzikwa

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