INFORMATION and Publicity minister Monica Mutsvangwa says paedophiles should be castrated to deter men from sleeping with underage girls.
Mutsvangwa made the comments after Matabeleland North proportional representation MP and Health Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chairperson Ruth Labode demanded answers on government policy to curb rising teenage pregnancies.
“To have 700 young girls aged 10 to 14 getting pregnant is very sad. A 10-year old is a child. What has gone wrong with our people?” Labode said.
In response, Mutsvangwa called for stiffer penalties.
“A 10-year-old is a baby and for any person in his right sense to actually take her as a woman, I think there is an element of madness which needs to be dealt with; an element of cruelty or animal behaviour which needs to be dealt with,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Penalties should be quite high. I would obviously take this up with my colleagues.
“We need to get that report and I certainly agree with her (Labode) so that at least we can work together as a country. It is about all of us as leaders in the areas where we live. It is also about us as parents to work together, united as Zimbabweans to fight against this evil.”
Latest statistics by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency released on disaggregated data on the distribution of births by age of mother showed that 700 girls aged 10 to 14 gave birth in 2022.
Earlier this year, a survey on teen pregnancies conducted by the child rights group, Zvandiri, disclosed that 95% of teenage pregnancies were unintended and attributed to poverty.
Another report by the Family Aids Caring Trust claimed that Zimbabwe witnessed a surge in child pregnancies between 2021 and 2022.
According to the report, between September 2021 and August 2022, over 20 000 pupils dropped out of school after falling pregnant.