The First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe yesterday said people who believe children as young as 12 years can consent to sex should be fired from their posts as they were inimical to national development and the proper upbringing of children.
In remarks that appeared directed at Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana, who recently sparked outrage after saying children can consent to sex, the First Lady — who runs an orphanage and has strong views on child abuse — said people should not make statements and then turnaround and claim they were misquoted.
Mr Tomana’s remarks drew the ire of child rights defenders and President Mugabe last week also drew a line in the sand saying his Government would soon move to outlaw marriages with persons below the age of 18.
Play the audio clip below
“We need people who talk sense not to say ‘I was misquoted’. Uchimbozvitaurirei? (Why say it in the first place?)” the First Lady said in Kadoma, while speaking at the commissioning of earthmoving equipment worth $3 million and a ground-breaking ceremony for the Macsherp Housing Scheme.
“Hatidi munhu anofarisa kana aripabasa. Kana usingazive zvekutaura, vhara muromo wako uende kumba kwako unwe tea nechingwa unyarare (We don’t want people who get carried away while at work. If you don’t know what to say, just shut up, go home and drink tea with bread in silence.)”
To wild applause from thousands of people gathered, she added: “We don’t want our country to be tainted in that way. That’s madness, and that person should be fired because his behaviour is rotten.
“Mukaona munhu anodaro ibhinya, ndiye ari kuita basa rekubhinya vanhu nekuti munhu musvinu, anemwana musikana, anepfungwa chaidzo haadaro.
“Tinokubhutsura isu vanaMai Mugabe kana zvatisvikira (If you see someone saying that [a 12-year-old can consent to sex], he’s a pervert. He’s the one in the business of abusing children because a rational person, someone who’s in charge of his mental faculties would never say that. We’ll kick you out).”
After receiving brickbats from all corners, Mr Tomana has dug himself into a hole, threatening Chronicle, The Herald and The Sunday Mail with unspecified action, insisting that Zimpapers was in a conspiracy to get him fired.
When offered an opportunity to clarify his recorded statement, an audio of which is online, he refused.
A furious First Lady said paedophiles had no place in society because they reverse the gains made by President Mugabe in encouraging children to go to school.
President Mugabe has encouraged even members of apostolic sects to send their children to school and seek medication.
“After all this, someone says one can sleep with a 12-year-old. That is foolish!” the First Lady said yesterday.
“We don’t want that. We want to raise our children in a normal way and they should go to school.”
Tomana told The Chronicle that girls who are out of school, even as young as nine, should be allowed to think “in the direction of getting married”.
He said: “It’s assumed that the girl child’s independent decisions start at an age that those that are speaking want to fix , but if you go out there you’ll find out that some of them may want to start out [having sex]in life early.
“We’ve nine-year-olds, 12-year-olds, 13-year-olds who’re not in school, who’re not doing anything for example. What are we saying to them? Then we say you can’t even do this [have sex], when the environment is not giving them alternative engagements? What are we talking about?
“… to simply say ‘no such and such conduct for any girl say below the age of 16’, I think we’ve not asked ourselves what we’re saying about that girl who would rather prefer to lead their life in the direction of getting married.”