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Press statement: Children and elections
Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children
July 09, 2013

As Zimbabwe prepares for the harmonized elections, it is sad to note that this supposed democratic process has been marred with acrimony and violence in the past. The violence leaves an indelible memory on the children of Zimbabwe who are the most vulnerable in our population. As the children see their parents, guardians and teachers being victimized for their political ideologies, the children will then grow up being intolerant of difference and with the view that violence resolves conflicts. Such a mindset will result in an undesired enculturation of violence in our society.

Child rights organizations under the auspices of Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children, commend the rhetoric which is being made by the political leaders of having peaceful elections. Our appeal however is for the verbal commitments to be translated into reality for the families and especially for the children of Zimbabwe who will live longer with the consequences of our actions today. In view of the above, as organizations that work with and for children:

1. We call upon all political parties to observe the dictates of the national Constitution, Section 81(1) which states that '…every boy and girl under the age of eighteen years, has the right[...] not to be recruited into a militia force or take part in armed conflict or hostilities;[...] not to be compelled to take part in any political activity. We therefore call on all political parties to abide by the provisions of the supreme law to ensure a safe environment for our children.

2. We strongly condemn any closure of schools or disruption of school lessons for children to be forced to attend political rallies

3. We implore both the electronic and print media to report on perpetrators of violence which affects children directly or indirectly where parents are victimised for their political persuasion.

4. We encourage the police to expeditiously facilitate judicial recourse for perpetrators of violence against children in a non partisan

We look forward to a peaceful election that will usher in a government that will promote, protect and respect the rights of children.

Visit the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children fact sheet

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