President Emmerson Mnangagwa has implored parents and guardians to administer corporal punishment to discipline their children and challenged churches and other social institutions to join in the fight against drug and substance abuse and bullying in schools.
Recently, Harare High Court judge Justice Munamato Mutevedzi acquitted a Chitungwiza member of an apostolic sect who fatally assaulted her son for being initiated into the Nyau cult (zvigure).
Yeukai Mutero walked away free after the judge ruled that she had acted lawfully in the corporal punishment she administered.
Mutero and her brother Ocean Mutero, who is still at large, teamed up to beat the 12-year-old Desmond Matsatse with mulberry sticks for he had joined the Gule WaMkulu.
The court found she had used a light switch, had not hit vulnerable parts of the body, had used moderate force, and could not have foreseen the fatal result, which could also have been generated by previous recent assaults on the boy by others.
Addressing scores of congregants during St Joseph Mission Roman Catholic Church’s centenary celebrations in Kezi, Matabeleland South province yesterday, President Mnangagwa noted that bullying continued to rear its ugly head in schools and called on parents and guardians to nip it in the bud by disciplining their children at home.
“Recently, I got a report from Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube that there are instances where school pupils fight and bully each other resulting in injuries and in some circumstances death,” he said.
“That is unacceptable and such pupils do not deserve to be in school, but behind bars or rehabilitation centres. If you want your daughter or son not to go behind bars, make sure you tell them at home that no bullying. Don’t trouble others, but love others and that is my philosophy.”
The President’s calls follow the recent suicide of a 15-year-old Hamilton High School pupil in Bulawayo after complaining of bullying at his school.
Jayden Saudan, who was a Form Three pupil at Hamilton High School, drank a pesticide at his family home in Montrose suburb and died the following day.
Jayden’s death came barely a month after another Hamilton High School learner fatally stabbed a Founders High School pupil, Wayne Ndlovu (16).
Two boys from Hamilton High School were arrested in connection with Wayne’s death and one of them has since appeared in court facing murder charges.
The learner’s death was a culmination of a series of turf wars pitting pupils from various schools in the city.
President Mnangagwa said drugs and substance abuse is destroying the younger generation and urged parents to discipline their children.
“There is a danger that drugs and substance abuse may destroy the younger generation. I urge the parents not to spare the rod and don’t worry about what the Americans do, they do what they want in America, and here in Zimbabwe, children should be disciplined,” he said.
“I once again urge the church to be mindful of the social ills which are threatening the very fabric of our society. The church and other social institutions must join the fight against bullying as well as drug and substance abuse,” said President Mnangagwa.
“As families, communities and churches, we must continually intercede for our children. They are our hope and future. As Proverbs 22:6 says: train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
President Mnangagwa also called on churches to foster peace, unity, and love within communities, more so in view of the forthcoming harmonised elections.
The President is yet to proclaim the date for harmonised elections following the gazetting of the final Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delimitation report last month.
“Violence has no place in our society. Peace, unity, and harmony must be maintained before, during, and after the election season. Indeed, the Bible in Genesis 13 verse 8 emphasises that ‘we are brethren’. Where there is unity, God commands His blessings, and God does not pour out his blessings where there is disharmony,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said under the Second Republic, no person or group should be allowed to sow seeds of hate, division and disunity among Zimbabweans.
“Under my administration, we reject the notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Tribalism and regionalism, among other divisive tendencies, which act against the realisation of our collective development aspirations are not acceptable,” he said.
“There is no bambazonke, Zimbabwe is our home together, given to us by Almighty God without us asking Him. As we develop our country, no one and no place will be left behind. Every single Zimbabwean is important no matter where they live.” Herald