With cases of rape and sodomy of children on the increase, there is only one thing to do: make a national register of sex offenders that will be used to bar such perverts from coming near minors, at least according to a High Court judge. If this proposal by Justice Edith Mushore is taken seriously by lawmakers, parents living in fear of their children being abused will finally enjoy some peace.
Justice Mushore has called for the introduction of a national register of sex offenders which blacklists all perpetrators of abuse to ensure they are barred from working in schools or other childcare institutions. Generally, a national register of sex offenders is a record of names of those found guilty of sexual offences against children and mentally-disabled people.
The register gives employers in the public or private sectors such as schools, crèches and hospitals the right to check if a person being hired is fit to work with children or the mentally-challenged. South Africa is one example of a country with a national register of sex offenders, and it has worked wonders in dealing with would-be repeat offenders.
Justice Mushore proposed the amendment of such laws while dismissing a criminal appeal by a 40-year-old school teacher who was jailed 12 years for raping a pre-school pupil aged four. Kufa Benedict Mafuwa, who was a teacher at Masiyarwa Primary School under Chief Zvimba, was challenging both conviction and sentence at the High Court.
Dismissing the appeal, Justice Mushore said cases of sexual abuse involving adults in positions of authority were on the increase and there was need for stricter measures to curb the evil act. “Although there is a growing sense of alarm as to the prevalence of these child abuse cases, I sense that society as a whole is also becoming de-sensitised as to the gravity of these offences,” she said.
“In a recent article published in Volume 1 of the Zimbabwe Electronic Journal 1/2016, Professor Geoff Feltoe aptly refers to the pandemic of sexual offences perpetrated upon children as the ‘evil of abuse’.
“He repeats the call for an urgent need to establish stricter measures to curb the scourge upon vulnerable minors, including the possibility of establishing a national register of sex offenders requiring accused persons, who are convicted of such offences to be registered in a database.” Justice Mushore said time had come to implement the proposed measures to protect vulnerable children.
“Other countries have adopted this measure (register) with significant results,” she said. “It seems to me that such measures are now necessary when looking at the worrying prevalence of cases such as the present matter where older men in positions of authority behave in predatory ways, wrecking untold physical, psychological and emotional damage on very young girls, thinking they can get away with such crimes. It appears that offenders are not getting the message that there are serious consequences for committing sexual assaults on young persons.”
Facts of the rape case were that Mafuwa saw the girl playing on a swing at school after lunch. He lured her into his office and raped her. After raping her, Mafuwa threatened to kill the girl if she disclosed the abuse to anyone. Instead, Mafuwa coached the girl to lie that a fellow pupil had raped her in the event she was asked at home.
When the girl went home, the parents discovered some bruises on her privates, but the girl tried to protect the perpetrator for fear of death. Investigations later implicated Mafuwa.