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Children Are Old Enough For Sex At 16, But Too Young For Marriage - Govt

Children Are Old Enough For Sex At 16, But Too Young For Marriage - Govt

Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the age of consent to sex is 16 years and that it has nothing to do with the age of consent to marriage.

Section 78 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe sets out the age of consent to marriage at 18 years and this has been confused with the age of consent to sex.

Ziyambi told Parliament that the Zimbabwe constitution is silent on the age of consent to sex and that there is no international treaty or convention on the issue.

He was responding to a question from Honourable Nyarai Tsuura (Proportional Representation) who wanted clarity on the age of consent to sex and the age of consent to marriage.

Below is the full-text answer from Minister Ziyambi to Honourable Tsuura’s question:

Thank you Madam Speaker.  I want to thank Hon. Tsuura for the question. Madam Speaker Ma’am, regarding the first part of the question, the current legal position as referred in Section 70 of the Criminal Law Code is that the age of consent to sexual activity is pegged at 16 years. That is the law. 

There is no international convention or treaty which provides for the age of consent to sex. So let us just be clear from the start that we do not have a standard age of consent across the board.

Our Constitution is also silent on the age of consent. However, on Section 78, it sets out the age of consent to marriage at 18 years. 

It is necessary that I point out that there has never been in our law, a direct equation made between marriage and indulging in sexual activity. So, it has never really stated that this is the age you must indulge in sex, and we equate to age of marriage. 

It has never been in our law. That practice has never been there, and we must not do so because marriage involves and requires more from a person as there are life commitments to consider including personal or proprietary and psychological as well, and we still stand by the position that 18 is the age of consent to marriage.

We do, however, implore parents, custodians and guardians to educate and teach the children to refrain from sexual conduct at a young age. We cannot, however, transfer this responsibility to the State, police and judiciary unless the sexual conduct involves matters such as rape, indecent assault and obtaining facts through inducement.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, there are proposals that the age of consent to sex should be raised to 18 years. Raising the age of consent to 18 years creates inevitable consequences.

These include criminal records for children and a bar to access sexual healthcare. Dr Ruth Labode (Proportional Representation) can allude to that. Children are already engaging in sexual activities among themselves or with older people.

The age of consent being fixed at 16, recognises facts that the law cannot dictate. The facts are that at the age of 16, most children are mature, beyond their age nowadays and are already sexually active.

Raising the age of consent to sex to 18 means children below the age of 18 having sexual intercourse will be criminalised. This results in children getting unwanted criminal records.

So, our position is that as parents, guardians and society, we must teach our children morals as opposed to abrogating our responsibility to the State, to say criminalise this conduct.

In addition, Madam Speaker, our prisons will be filled with young children who will now be labelled as criminals for consensually engaging in sexual activity.

Our judicial system will be clogged with these matters, resulting in resources being diverted from the real sexual crimes and other serious criminal offences.

If having intercourse becomes a criminal offence yet children are already indulging, this will deter these children from accessing sexual healthcare, since trying to access this healthcare is tantamount to admitting that one is guilty of a sexual offence. 

These are issues that need to be resolved but my Ministry will not make a unilateral decision without consulting.

There shall be consultations with stakeholders and the general public so that we can take steps on the age of consent to sex.

However, I repeat, let us deal with issues of morality as a society and not transfer that responsibility to our criminal courts.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, on alleged inconsistencies between the Criminal Law Code and the Constitution, let me hasten to say there are no inconsistencies between the two.

The Constitution does not provide for the age of consent to sexual intercourse. It provides for the age of consent to marriage in Section 78, which is set at 18 years of age.

I would also like to make it clear that there are laws against rape and indecent assault. And there are laws against obtaining sex by inducements such as using money, bribery, et cetera where such are considered criminal offences and offenders will be rightfully charged. 

Thank you, Madam Speaker Ma’am.

More: OpenParly


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23 Comments

R`G 6 months ago

Its so touching but its not a surprising issue tho they knew they watch American movies and learn trust me these childrens


Jay 6 months ago

Ndabatikana 16 years here veduwe . Sex before marriage must not be allowed. Zvavatanga izvi zvakutoreva kuti ma marriage acho hachagari because munhu akatanga pa 16 apa haazogotsikane even nemurume anomuroora because anenge ajaira dzakawanda haaa uku ndoku promoter chihure manje


Xxx mee 6 months ago

Aaah sak kana zvakadaro huyka tigare tapedza basa racho


x 6 months ago

tisiyei tikwirwe


ss 6 months ago

irume irori rikutaurawo zvisna basa

Griso 6 months ago

Huh this is nonsense ...marriage nesex zvinosiyana makore sei kukurudzira chipfambi , this is rubbish sure mwana ari kuma buk 3 or 4 akutoita zvebonde mabuks asiya nani haana kana certificate,huh ngapagadziriswe ipapo, shld be 18 and above like beer


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jombo 6 months ago

Its illegal to force snyone to have sex....but its legal to agree to have sex if u are above 16


Chief Nqumbi 6 months ago

The laws of God are just,and the laws of humans are legal.🤔🤔


Douglas Kaliwoh 6 months ago

Is Zimbabwe still a Christian country? Why allow sex before marriage? The lawis telling people that between age 16 and 18 the girl child can be taken advantage of sexually and it is legal. While she is being taken advantage of over the two years the law says that it is illegal for her to get married and will be prosecuted and have a criminal record for getting married in those two years! Is this not a loophole that those who make the laws want to protect themselves by having sex with 16 and 17 year olds and dumping them before getting 18 since they have crafted the laws in such a way that they can have sex with the teenager but cannot be forced into marriage? Legal to have sex with them but illegal to marry them? We surely have much much more laws we need to align!


Gogodera 6 months ago

Kana wadzi mutemo wokurara ne16 years asi kuroorana hakuite zvinorevei Mwari vanhu ndimi makasika movapavo mhinduro sezvamakaita kusodom negomora ndinokuzivai muchidzika kuzopindura momene Amen


Tanaka21 6 months ago

Ummm guys 16 yrs,Future yawo is now in mess those girl child,zvorwadza


Joker°^• 6 months ago

Musada kukuridzira chipfambii varume imi bonde rinodzidzisei kune mwana ane 16 years 16 years it's not even good enough. 18 and above


Kkkkk 6 months ago

Mazidara ayaaa etumatumbu, go ahead pfeeeee kkk


Mr BBQ 6 months ago

Dis tym tinosvuuka pombi netuma 16yrs amaihweeeeeeee! Ndachema zvangu


Jb 6 months ago

Ita wanku uone l will give yu instant justice kubvisa zipombi rasvuuka iroro demeti

Bright 6 months ago

Ko kana ari mwana wako arikuita kuti mumwe munhu asvuuke how do you feel musoro uzere mvura

Mr Bush 6 months ago

Let's hope u don't have a baby girl


Muisi 6 months ago

Gore rino tinotyoka pombi nekuisa itwotwo tuma 16 yrs😋😋


Rambo 6 months ago

kkkkkkk musadaro weduwee

Ahhh 6 months ago

Nhai church nhai church..... iwe neni tinebasa, nyika yotorwa kuyananisa kereke yenyu zvorewei...ichiri kereke here ....16 sex but no to marriage...


Bvama kukundwa 6 months ago

To hell, sex @ 16 but no to marriage, its a shame....nababa Bona hamunawo here vamak,groomer kt atore hunhu hwenyu nyika yakaenda kuuya kwamairamba.....ngongo dzazara hezvo vana wozi sex pa16 asi marriage hazi kwete .....zvorevei....


Anesu 6 months ago

Understanding some things better...reread

Tkt 6 months ago

Thus having been said, ndikunzwei muchingoti nywe nywe nyweee



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