A local non-governmental organisation advocating for female students rights has charged at government for not speeding up enactment of laws that criminalise child marriages and other forms of gender-based violence(GBV).

In a press statement to mark the 16 days of activism against GBV ,the Female Students Network Trust(FESN) expressed its shock on the decision by the state to grant bail to minor Anna Machaya’s abusers.

“AS FSNT we are deeply concerned about the fatalities being recorded from incidents of GBV such as the death of Anna Machaya who died due to complications sustained while giving birth at a shrine in Marange showing the grave effects of child marriages as a form of GBV. 

“The perpetrators of Machaya’s case have been granted bail which might deter the efforts being made to combat early child marriages,”FESN expressed.

The organisation also noted with concern the high incidences of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions which are not being censured. 

“Sexual harassment in tertiary institutions continues to take its toll on female students unabated. “We believe that women play a critical role in the development of the country when they are educated healthy yet GBV denies them their right to fully utilize their capabilities,”adds FESN.

The advocacy group has since called government to act as a matter of urgency.

“We reiterate the need for the government to speed up the process of enacting a comprehensive law that criminalizes sexual harassment at all levels. 

“To tighten screws on the laws that deal with child marriages and impose stiffer penalties to the perpetrators of child marriages,”

It also recommends ‘for male champions of GBV to scale up their activism towards ending GBV in Zimbabwe and for strengthening and enforcement of laws that protects women from cyber harassment’.

FSNT is a membership -based organization that works with female students in forty-three institutions across Zimbabwe.