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Crime Tracker: Zimbabwe Proposes S.ex Offenders Register

Harare – As sex crimes against minors skyrocket, Zimbabwe is mooting the introduction of a s.ex offenders’ register to effectively track pr...

Harare – As sex crimes against minors skyrocket, Zimbabwe is mooting the introduction of a s.ex offenders’ register to effectively track previous perpetrators and exclude them from working with vulnerable children in the future.

The proposal tabled by Judge Martin Makonese, could assist in reducing child abuse figures and give peace to parents with children in public institutions by blacklisting all previous offenders.

Derick Matsengarwodzi
A s.ex offenders register records names of criminals convicted for sexual offences against children and mentally disabled and this will enable future employers to check potential employees’ crime history before enrolling them to work with minors.

Grave statistics

South Africa has effectively incorporated the National Register for S.ex Offenders (NRSO) to monitor repeat offenders and protect vulnerable children.
At Least 325 Girls Aged 11 and 15 are Raped Daily in Zimbabwe

Figures released by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in 2016, say 325 girls aged 11 and 15 are raped every month, while some cases are not reported due to proximity of police stations, religious and cultural reasons, increasing the chances for continued abuse.

Judge Makonese suggested that: “All offenders and sexual predators must be brought to book. I propose that a national database be created for all persons convicted of child sexual abuse for the purposes of monitoring se.xual vultures who tend to re-offend once released from prison.”

The request was made after a former teacher was appealing against a 12-year sentence for raping a preschool pupil aged four.

Stiffer sentence
With many abuse cases involving trusted members of the community, John Mhlanga, a social worker states that there must be strict monitoring, since perpetrators tend to seek easier prey.

“The abuse of trust by teachers who mainly target orphans and vulnerable children is rampant. They take advantage of the children’s vulnerability to abuse them as noted by the UNICEF 2011 Report. Research has also shown that most paedophiles tend to seek employment in sectors that give them easy access to children,” Mhlanga said.

Meanwhile, child activists are advocating for stiffer penalties against rapists in order to send a clear message to would-be perpetrators. Currently, a crime like cattle rustling attracts a stiffer penalty compared to grave crimes like rape.

“I think the sentence is not stiff enough. We need a minimum mandatory sentence for rape. Cattle rustling attracts stiffer punishment. So from an advocacy point of view we need to get to a point where we say enough is enough. Convictions are happening, yes, but they seem lenient,” said Talent Jumo, a gender activist.

Parliament debate
Vocal legislator, Tabitha Khumalo supported the projected sex offenders register.

“We’ve a paedophile at a school doing community service. As a country we don’t have a database for these paedophiles, so that next time when he commits the same crime, we look into the computer, identify them and monitor them,” said Khumalo during a parliamentary debate.

The sex offenders register has also garnered sympathy from various sections of the community, though it still has to go through parliament.

“The proposal to establish a national se.x offenders’ register is a viable and necessary in this country. Those who have a history of sexual abuse should not get too close to those who are at a high risk of being abused. Children cannot protect themselves; therefore, there is a need for them to be protected,” Tanaka Tafirenyika, a parent argued.

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