Zimbabwe’s 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe proposed new method of curbing the rape of children in his country -- castration.
Police in Zimbabwe say that more than 1,600 children there suffered rapes in the first half of 2013 alone, according to the Kenya-based news site Africa Review. Most of those rapes were committed by relatives, under the advice of folk healers who tell them that sex with children is a cure for HIV and AIDS, according to Africa Review.
“Fathers be aware. We are going to make it very, very tough for you,” Mugabe (pictured) said at the opening of the Zimbabwe parliament Tuesday. "No molestation of youngsters, not molestation of women.”
Rape -- of children and adults -- is a serious problem in this country of 13 million.
“Rape cases have increased by five per cent as we recorded a total of 2,440 in the first half of the year compared to 2,326 recorded during the same period last year,” Blessmore Chishaka, a police spokesperson, said. “We are concerned with this increase in rape cases because most of them involved girls below the age of 16 years.”
For Mugabe, his newly proposed penalty of castration is actually a softening of previous policy.
“In the past, there was death for rape but these days those campaigning for human rights say its inhuman,” Mugabe, who has been Zimbabwe’s president since 1987 after serving as prime minister since 1980, told the parliament. “I was thinking for rapists, we should castrate them and the person remains alive. But that which makes him rape, must go.”