GWERU - Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday scoffed at sentiments made by Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana that 12-year-old girls can have sex and get married, saying children needed to mature first before entering into relationships.
In an apparent attack on Tomana’s sentiments, Mnangagwa who was speaking during the official opening of the Global Action week on education here said government treats such practices with disdain.
“Government continues to frown at such practices,” he said adding that children needed to be educated before embarking on marriage.
“The business of children is in school not in marriage. Girls should not rush into marriage,” Mnangagwa who is also Justice minister said.
Tomana brewed a storm when he seemed to defend sexual offenders as long as they prove that they consented to sex with the minors in the court of law. He said that girls should be allowed to marry early since sending their abusers to jail would “ruin” their lives.
His statement comes as child rights activists and members of the House of Assembly have called upon government to protect children.
The age of consent according to the Constitution is 16, but Tomana’s liberal views on marriage have alarmed child rights activists who say children need to be protected.
The Global Action Week was held in line with the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2030 which call upon all countries to provide quality education. Education has been set as a human right in the comprehensive bill of rights.
“I urge all parents to prioritise children’s education and focus on developing our children for a brighter future,” said Mnangagwa.