HARARE, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Parliament on Thursday accused the government of failing to protect women and children, including under-age sex workers, from abuse.
With the election season of 2018 fast approaching, political parties are beginning to try and score political goals against opponents, with the opposition taking aim at President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and highlighting areas of perceived weaknesses.
The MDC led by Welshman Ncube said that the media was reporting daily of cases of women or children being murdered or raped or both.
"Statistics have it that sexual and physical violence against women is on the increase in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe included. It hurts to learn that young girls as young as nine years old are already exploited as sex workers in some parts of Zimbabwe," said the party's deputy national spokesperson Mbuso Siso.
He said according to the Zimbabwe National Council for the Welfare of Children, 81.2 percent of young women exploited as sex workers in Zimbabwe had dropped out of school because they could not afford school fees.
"Other factors behind this predicament include, but are not limited to financial need, familial poverty, orphan-hood and gender based violence."
Siso said the government should shoulder the blame for failing to stage effective campaigns to curb violence against women, and for failing to develop policies and strategies that ensure the safety of women and children.
"The heightened unemployment rate and the economic slump caused by the ZANU-PF government has put several poverty stricken women in compromising situations, leaving them vulnerable to abuse.
"Also to blame are the corrupt law enforcement agents from both the judiciary and the police force who allow criminals to walk scot free after receiving bribes," Siso charged.
The MDC would like to call on civic societies and society at large to embark on sustainable campaigns to fight the scourge of violence against women and children, he said.