Various women organisations have called upon the government to come up with a minimum jail time for rapists without the option of a fine or community service in cases involving minors and people with disabilities.
The proposed sentence which comes at the backdrop of the surge in the number of rape and sexual assault cases which in some cases they involve relatives, guardians and or parents of the unsuspecting victims, is believed to be deterrent enough to would-be offenders.
This came out at a meeting convened by Musasa project where attendees concurred on the need for a minimum mandatory sentence on rape and sexual offences. Musasa Project Director Mrs Precious Taru said:
Crimes like cable theft and stock theft have minimum mandatory sentences in Zimbabwe, why is it that there is nothing like that for rape cases. Do we love our livestock more that our girls and women, even a minimum sentence of 60 years will do.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Honourable Chido Madiwa echoed Taru’s sentiments adding that the “issue is serious and should be treated as such.”
The Zimbabwean government in 2017 proposed a minimum mandatory 60-year jail sentence for people convicted of raping minors aged 12 years and below and the disabled, while a 40-year prison term will apply for all rape cases as a means to stamp out the crime.
The proposal was made after stakeholders including the Musasa Project had expressed concern over irregularity and inconsistency in the sentencing patterns ranging from perpetrators of rape and sexual violence being incarcerated for 18 years to a mere $500 fine.
More: ZBC News