24 August 2021
OUTRAGE OVER THE RELEASE OF MUNYARADZI KEREKE FROM PRISON
Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), a non-partisan national network of women’s rights organisations and activists striving for the protection of the rights of women and girls, expresses its outrage over the release of Munyaradzi Kereke from prison. The former Zanu PF Bikita West legislator was granted $500 000 bail by the Supreme Court pending an appeal which he lodged against both conviction and 14-year sentence imposed by the High Court. He was found guilty of raping his then 11-year-old niece at gunpoint while he was acquitted
on the count of indecent assault purportedly committed against the older niece. Kereke, who was serving an effective 10 years after four were conditionally set aside, was due for release in 20 months.
This release is not only an insult to the nation, but to children who look up to the State and parents to protect them from such an evil. Sexual abuse of children is a social evil which blights the lives of the child victims, as well as their families, and debases our society. The girl child is especially vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation and all possible steps must be taken to protect them against sexual predators who prey upon them. Section 81 of the Constitution proclaims that every child has the right to be protected against sexual exploitation and section 19 of the Constitution places an obligation upon the State to adopt reasonable measures to ensure that children are protected against all forms of abuse. What is hurtful is the fact that the offenders are often the very persons who are supposed to care for and protect the children, such as the father of a girl child, a relative, a child minder or a schoolteacher. Kereke was no stranger to his victims and these
girls deserve to be protected at all costs.
Justice for the 11-year-old victim should be served hence we call upon the National Prosecuting Authority to appeal against the granting of this bail as the National Prosecuting Authority is responsible for instituting and undertaking criminal prosecutions on behalf of the State and discharging any functions that are necessary or incidental to such prosecutions. This is in cognisance of the fact that section 81 of the Constitution gives every child in Zimbabwe the right to be protected sexual exploitation and any form of abuse and a child’s best
interests are paramount in every matter concerning the child. Therefore, children are entitled to adequate protection by the courts//END