By A Correspondent- President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on religious organisations to put to an end unlawful cultural activities such as child marriage.
He was speaking at State House on Wednesday where he launched a spotlight initiative high-level political compact on ending gender-based violence and harmful practices. He said:
The importance of the role being played by our religious and traditional leaders as custodians of our religious and traditional customs cannot be overemphasised.
Our democratic system has given space for people to affiliate with cultural and religious groupings of their choice.
However, repugnant practices such as child marriages, which undermine the rights of our children, have no place in our country and should stop forthwith.
Similarly, all religious and cultural practices must remain within the confines of what is legal and constitutional.
The compact is a strategic initiative and commitment for an effective response towards the elimination of gender-based violence, largely perpetrated against women and girls.
European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen and UN resident coordinator Maria do Valle Ribeiro, whose organisations extended technical support to the initiative, attended the event.
Also present were representatives of religious organisations, traditional leaders and civic organisations.
Olkkonen commended Zimbabwe for successful implementation of the programme which he said warranted it to get additional funding from the EU.
Zimbabwe has fared well in comparison with other countries. We are happy that the initiative has moved forward, we are entering the second phase.
In the EU funding, there was a trigger of additional funding to come on board depending on how successful the programme is.
Zimbabwe has been successful in that regard so we are continuing in 2022. Today’s event is important in that it shows commitment at the highest level.