Chiefs and traditional leaders in Matabeleland say young men from their areas who are based abroad (Injiva), mostly South Africa and Botswana, are largely to blame for unplanned pregnancies and early child marriages in their areas.
This came out during a meeting organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works alongside the United Nations for women working with chiefs and traditional leaders in Matabeleland to end violence against women and girls in rural areas.
Senator Chief Siansali of Binga said Injiva and Omalayitsha (cross-border transporters) take advantage of poor young girls in rural areas and use promises of cash and goodies to entice them into sexual relationships. He said:
These Injiva are also our children. They grew up here. It is the duty of every parent to teach their South African-based children not to take advantage of their neighbours to abuse them sexually.
Most of these children fall pregnant during examination time. They camp at schools because walking on a daily basis to school tires them and makes them lose concentration.
If more schools that are nearer to homes could be built it would make everyone’s job easier.
It has also been established that girls in rural areas mostly get unwanted pregnancies around December when South African-based Zimbabweans visit the country.
Meanwhile, the partners in the initiative urged chiefs to establish safe shelters for victims and standby funds in their villages to cater for victims of violence.