By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
16 June, 2014
Zimbabwe’s First Lady has reportedly made comments at a public event, suggesting that rapists who abuse young girls should be beheaded as a deterrent, because they have no place in “normal society”.
Speaking at a World Blood Donation Day function in Chinhoyi on Saturday, Grace Mugabe is reported to have also suggested that when they get desperate, rapists should use prostitutes rather force themselves on young girls.
According to the Daily News, Grace attributed the idea to her hubby, President Robert Mugabe, saying: “Baba vakataura wani kuti kana zvanetsa, munongotsvaka ma prostitutes”. (Didn’t the President say when you are troubled sexually go and look for prostitutes).
Although she also blasted rapists and said it was “embarrassing” and “very bad” to “plant your seed” in young girls, some observers reacted to the First Lady’s indirect promotion of prostitution, which is a very serious problem in Zimbabwe.
Rose Benton from the Zimbabwe Vigil pressure group said it is clear that the First Lady does not want innocent girls raped, but her suggestions were too extreme and solutions to the real problems are what the country needs.
“The point is that so many prostitutes are there because of the poverty in Zimbabwe which has been created by the ZANU PF regime. If you are a mother and you’ve got to feed your children but you have no other work you go into it out of desperation, like a lot of respectable people,” Benton told SW Radio Africa.
She added: “It’s kind of a symptom of the lack of rule of law in Zimbabwe where you can get away with doing what you want and if you are stronger than somebody you can subject them to your will. It’s all rather disturbing.”
Benton said Zimbabwe used to be a much more caring culture and the tragedy is that all of it has been forgotten as people struggle to cope with poverty and oppression. The solution is to fix the economy, create jobs and respect the basic human rights of citizens.