Junior parliamentarians from the Harare metropolitan province held their first debate session this year on Friday urging parents, government and society to work together in addressing issues affecting children.
The lively debate centered on issues of child marriages, child labor, depravation of education and disparities and problems children face in obtaining birth certificates at the Registrar-General Offices.
The junior parliamentarians said children without birth certificates are failing to enroll in public schools, adding the government must make it mandatory for all children to obtain these documents at birth.
One such junior parliamentarian is Antony Mpala who says birth certificates should be issued in hospitals and not the Registrar General’s Offices.
The junior parliamentarians also complained the process to obtain birth certificates at the Registrar-General’s Offices is slow and corrupt.
The issue of child labor also come under the spotlight with Lindani Moyo of Highfield East saying junior parliamentarians must take the lead in the fight against forced child labour.
Vincent Bakasa of Mbare and Julian Masawi of Seke South both condemned child labor and expressed concern over the failure by government to stamp out what they described as an evil practice.
Masawi said it is worrying that even police officers are not arresting the culprits.
The parliamentarians also urged the government to look after children with disabilities saying some of them were out of school as most institutions have no facilities that cater for them.
Junior minister responsible for Information and Communication Technologies, Kudakwashe Kuzvindiwana said children with disabilities must be allowed to register in schools of their choice.
After the debate, portfolio committee chairmen of the National Assembly and representatives from government ministries responded to the issues raised by the junior parliamentarians.
Minister of State for Harare province Miriam Chikukwa said the government will do all it can to ensure children, the leaders of tomorrow, have a bright future.