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Zimbabwe Lawmakers Push for Changes to Age of Sex Consent

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

Lawmakers say girls as young as 12 are abused in the name of consenting to sex.

Lawmakers say girls as young as 12 are abused in the name of consenting to sex.

Parliamentarians are celebrating after winning the fight to push the age of consent in Zimbabwe from 12 to 16 years.

Lawmakers wanted the government to increase the age to 18 years but chief whip Innocent Gonese of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai said Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, representing the government in parliament, refused.

Section 65 of the Criminal Law Codification Act states that if a girl between the ages of 12 and 16 consents to sex, her partner will not be charged with rape.

Gonese said that is what they want changed.

Constitutionally the age of consent is 16, while the age of consent to marriage is 18.

Gonese said the next step now is to set into motion the process to amend the law in parliament.

“In terms of Section 70 of the Criminal Law and Reform Codification Act, if any young person has lawful sexual intercourse with a young person and if the young person is a girl, then one stands to be charged with having intercourse with a young person,” explains Gonese.

But Gonese added that if that girl is below 12, then the law says she is incapable of giving consent and one is charged with rape.

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