‘Child marriages a violation of children’s rights’
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Chief Magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe has castigated the practice of child marriages, describing it as a violation of children’s rights. He said denying girls their right to education has the effect of doubling their vulnerability to child marriages that have ruined the lives of the young ones in the country.
Officially opening a new courthouse in Chiredzi last Friday, Mr Guvamombe said child marriages were a recipe for poverty and providing girls with education would assist in eradicating the vice.
“Let us do away with child marriages,” he said. “We denounce practices that infringe on the rights of children.
“Child marriages are demeaning, rob our children of their childhood and put them in danger of contracting diseases, having complicated pregnancies and dropping out of school.
“Denying our girls education doubles their vulnerability. Let us empower the girl child by keeping her in school.”
Mr Guvamombe said the courts were also worried with the increasing number of sexual abuse cases and urged all stakeholders to play their part in curbing the offence.
“As courts we are concerned with the increasing numbers of sexual abuse cases,” he said. “Everyday newspapers continue to cover stories of sexual offences and it has become a worrisome trend.
“Sexual abuse has many negative effects which range from physical health consequences like unwanted pregnancies, transmission of HIV, STIs and even death, behavioural problems and psychological problems.
“I am appealing to all of you to help in the fight against sexual abuse,” said Mr Guvamombe.
The construction of a new court building in Chiredzi by the Judicial Service Commission and Plan International has paved way for the establishment of a regional court that deals with serious cases like rape, armed robbery and others.
Until now, Chiredzi only had a provincial criminal court that dealt with lighter criminal offences and civil matters.
All rape cases and robbery cases would be referred to Masvingo, some 200 kilometres away.
The new courthouse now houses the civil court, which used to operate from a the District Administrator’s boardroom as well as the regional court.
Mr Guvamombe said JSC had responded to the plight of the Chiredzi community and justice had now been brought to their doorstep.
“Today we are talking of a regional magistrates’ court at Chiredzi.
“Distance is no longer a barrier to accessing justice. Gone are the days when families had to sell cattle and goats so that they could travel long distances to court in Masvingo.
“Justice has been brought to your door-step. We have heard your cries and we have responded,” said Mr Guvamombe.
The chief magistrate hailed Plan International for the support.
“We are deeply indebted to Plan International for the support you are rendering to our organisation through the construction of various courthouses.
“The support by Plan International dovetails with JSC’s vision which is: ‘To promote and facilitate world class justice’,” said Mr Guvamombe.
Mr Guvamombe also reiterated JSC’s policy of zero tolerance to corruption urging the public and court official to shun the vice in all its facets.
“We have a zero tolerance to corruption within Judicial Service Commission. I am urging everyone here present, not to tempt our court officials.
“Corruption compromises the quality of justice. When you witness corruption, please report to our offices and the police.
“I have an open door policy in my office,” said the chief magistrate.