Zimbabwe’s parliament has reportedly resolved to impose a minimum 60-year sentence for the rape of children younger than 12 or people who are living with a disability.
According to the state-owned Chronicle newspaper, Information Minister Chris Mushowe said that “the rest of the cases of rape or sodomy” would carry a minimum sentence of 40 years.
He was quoted as saying that harsher jail terms were needed to “protect our society against the perpetrators of this inhumane crime”.
Reports have indicated that at least 21 woman are raped daily in the southern African nation.
According to Sunday News, last year, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat) claimed that at least one woman was sexually abused every 75 minutes.
The data showed a 42% increase in rape cases over the past six years, a trend that was reportedly worrying gender activists.
According to the ZimStat’s quarterlydigest of statistics for the fourth quarter of 2015, an average of 646 women were sexually abused monthly.
A total of 7 752 cases of rape were recorded in 2015, up from 7 551 the previous year.