THE arrest of 39 students from various schools and colleges at a Vuzu party in Bulawayo’s Khumalo suburb on Friday night is a reminder for parents and communities to be vigilant and be on the lookout for such illegal activities.
This comes especially towards the end of the third term when pupils from boarding schools come back home to interact with their day schooling counterparts.
Vuzu parties are common during the first weekend after the end of school terms or the last weekend of the school holiday where students gather at selected houses, mostly child-headed with parents either out of town or country, to engage in all manner of delinquency.
This includes the intake of alcohol, abuse of drugs and sexual orgies.
In some cases, adults are responsible for hosting Vuzu parties but hide behind the students so that they can prey on minors whom they would have plied with alcohol and drugs.
After arresting the students on Friday night, the police recovered alcohol, cigarettes and cigarette stubs, and used and unused condoms.
National police spokesperson Asst Comm Paul Nyathi said:
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms the arrest of 39 students from various schools in Bulawayo at a certain house in Kumalo suburb, on 18 November while they were conducting a Vuzu party. Some whisky, cigarette stubs, used and unused condoms were recovered at the scene. Investigations are underway and more information will be revealed,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The arrest comes as the Government has expressed concern over the increasing cases of child sexual abuse saying measures are being put in place to arrest the scourge through surveillance and conscientising communities.
This follows the recent cases involving a nine-year-old girl from Tsholotsho who gave birth to a baby girl via Caesarean section last Monday.
Last week, it was also reported that an eight-year-old girl from a farm in Bindura, Mashonaland Central is six months pregnant.
The minor was raped and impregnated allegedly by two teenage brothers from the same farm.
“When we see two cases being exposed in a short period it’s an issue of concern to us as the Government. Even one case of child abuse, especially where there’s violence or sexual abuse involved, it is one too many,” said Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima on Friday.
The minister said more needs to be done in terms of surveillance and conscientising communities to report such cases.
“We need to redouble efforts to make sure we identify, and better still, prevent cases of child abuse. We can’t afford to lose the potential the youngsters have for the development of this country and be robbed of their future,” said Prof Mavima.
He said the suspects involved in the two cases have since been arrested and are assisting police with investigations.
“I hear that there are two suspects that have been identified. There will be an investigation to determine who is responsible, and I know that the department of social welfare and our social development partners, working with law enforcement officers will be able to identify and bring to book those people responsible,” said Prof Mavima.
“Recent cases that have been headlining the news platforms are horrific and they show how deep the scourge of violence against children has gone. Violence against children negatively impacts on their well-being and affects their growth and development.”
Prof Mavima called on stakeholders involved in child rights to ensure that safe environments for children are created within communities.
“A child belongs to everyone hence child protection requires collective action. Let us not wait for the worst to happen, I urge the nation to properly report all cases of children at risk of abuse,” he said.
“We are committed as a ministry to lead in this vicious fight against perpetrators of child abuse.
“Communities should not hesitate to bring all suspected cases of abuse to the attention of relevant authorities such as police, community child care workers in every ward, district and provincial social welfare offices across the country,” said Prof Mavima.