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Zimbabwean Leaders Urged to Bring About Lasting Stability
Source: Africa News
Source Date: Thursday, November 18, 2010
Focus: Citizens’ Service Delivery
Country: Zimbabwe
Created: Nov 18, 2010

Thulasizwe Simelane, Zimbabwe

The United Nations Children's Fund advocate for children's rights Graca Machel has urged Zimbabwe's political leadership to see through the constitution drafting process in order to bring lasting stability in the country.

She has just concluded a visit to the country during which she advocated for the protection of children's rights, in the mooted founding charter. In 2008 she was refused entry into the country, as part of an elders group delegation, led by former US president Jimmy Carter and former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Anan.

Ms Machel's call comes as Zimbabwe braces for possible elections next year, stoking fears of a return to political violence that would most adversely affect women and children.

She put a heartfelt plea to the country's rulers to put children first. An estimated 34% of Zimbabwe's children under the age of five suffer chronic malnutrition. Around 12 000 of them die each year as a result of under-nutrition.

Mugabe, Machel meeting fails  

Political strife has over the past decade disrupted education and displaced families. Unemployment and poverty continue to bite. Harare resident Robson Chionde says, "I have no job, my children are not going to school and my wife is also unemployed."

But Machel did not get to see this picture. Instead, she was told of progress made through the re-opening of schools, supply of textbooks and re-opening of specialist children's units at hospitals.  

She says her two major reasons for the trip were to evaluate the social sectors to see how it is responding to assisting children and women and the constitution.

This was Ms. Machel's first visit to Zimbabwe since she was refused entry in 2008. A meeting with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe failed to materialise. Instead, she met one of the country's vice presidents.

 

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