Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: Zimbabwean men have simply gone rogue

I rarely watch ZBC TV as it is such a painful experience. The content, the propaganda, the scarfed murderer who is always the lead story, the atrocious picture quality due to antiquated equipment— are all a huge turn-away. But this week, as I fiddled with the channels while awaiting to watch the Champions League football matches, I stumbled upon the ZBC channel and a story on the pathetic station touched the very strings of my heart.

It was reported that only one female student at Maringani primary school in Marondera wrote her Grade 7 examinations. Only four female Grade 7 students at the school had registered to write the exams as the rest of the Grade 7 girls at the school had all gotten married earlier in the year. But by time the examinations commenced, even the other three who had registered to write had gotten “married” and only one girl ended up writing her Grade 7 examinations at the school.

A brief historical context may be necessary. When I did my primary education at Tsatse Primary school in Domboshava in the 1980s, a Grade One pupil would be just about 7 years old. I went for my primary school soon after the war in 1980 and the village girls, most of them already grown up and in their late teens, had decided to go back to school as the war had disturbed their education.

It was therefore possible in those years to hear that a Grade 7 pupil had gotten married. During our days in primary school in the early 1980s, the likes of Sarudzai, Irene, Sinikiwe and others who did their Grade 7 just after the country attained its independence in 1980 were in fact young women.

But times have changed. A child now does two years of preschool education, generally referred to as the Early Childhood Education (ECD) classes at a far much early age. On average, a child now goes for grade one at five years of age after doing preschool, which means most of them will be around 11/12 years of age when they do their Grade 7. This is the age that was married off at Maringani. The children were in fact raped, if the brutal truth be told as one cannot legally get married at 11 or 12 years of age.

Yet we did not hear of any mass arrests for rape in Marondera. This means the parents quietly married these girls off without raising any legal stink—which all points to a society that has become complicit in this despicable practice.

The Maringani experience is an eye opener as it means that the kids that got married off were just about 11/12 years. Vana vekumahumbwe .

For me, this is a cause for serious national concern. It’s an issue that requires a robust national debate with the aim of plugging all loopholes, including stiff deterrent sentences for anyone found guilty of taking part in this reprehensible but growing industry of child marriages.

What kind of men is our nation breeding who can sleep with or purport to have married an 11-year old girl? Just what has this country come to?

In the week that the alleged Marange paedophile Hatirarame Hombarume skipped bail while awaiting trial, child marriages in Zimbabwe have become a beast that ought to be “Luke-d” in the Eye.

Hombarume is a member of the Johanne Marange Apostolic sect who impregnated an under-age girl Anna Machaya. The girl died of complications while giving birth on July 15 this year. It was a story that caused national outrage, leading to Hombarume’s arrest.

Now Hombarume, who was granted bail because of the notion that one is innocent until proven guilty, was early this week slapped with a warrant of arrest by a Manicaland regional magistrate after it turned out he has skipped ball.

But why was such a monster granted bail? Well, the law in its unending stupidity always has a rationale and justification for that.

The world’s men, especially Zimbabwean men, have simply gone rogue. There are increasing reports of fathers sleeping with their own daughters, some even under 10 years of age. The press is now replete with repugnant stories of relatives and trusted friends that have sexually abused children left in their care.

It’s an abomination—as they would say in the Nigerian movies.

What exactly is the reason any man would “fall in love” and sleep with a child? And why would families sit down in their numbers to marry off children still in primary school, and even shout with pride that: Mari yedamage raRumbi yakauya nezuro(We gathered for Rumbi’s lobola ceremony yesterday). Even when the Rumbi in question is just an 11-year old Grade 7 pupil?

Is it sorcery and rituals? is it religion? Or is it that humanity in general and men in particular have simply gone rogue?

And yes, we have also heard about women abusing under-age boys. That too should be condemned but this week I am on the men.

I have two lovely daughters and one of them is 9-year Lee-Anne Tapiwanashe. My heart sinks when I read of these rogue men on the prowl and I shudder to think about these monsters pouncing on my young daughter.

Well… that is certainly the day when I will do a Joseph Nemaisa on the culprit. Oh yes, I will callously shoot someone for the sake of my beloved daughter.

It’s regrettable that humanity has simply gone rogue.

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Deputy Secretary for Presidential Affairs in the MDC Alliance led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa. You can interact with him on his Facebook page or via the twitter handle @luke_tambo.