Six juveniles who were part of the Kwekwe Junior Council were reportedly impregnated by gold panners during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Amongst the juveniles, three were below the age of 15 .
Ward 13 junior councillor Precious Hove said most of her juvenile colleagues fell victim to gold panners who lured them with money.
“We have a huge challenge here in the district due to illegal gold panners who lure young girls with money and they end up falling pregnant or even eloping with the men as they think they might earn a living with them,” she said.
According to the Zimbabwe National Council for Welfare of Children (ZNCWC) board chair, Dr Lamiel Phiri, relevant authorities should engage gold panners and educate them on the dangers of engaging in sexual relations with young girls.
“Can you imagine losing six junior councillors? This is very bad. This goes on to show how early marriages have wreaked havoc in the country. We hear stories of gold panners ‘swiping’ young girls for a certain fee, I never thought it was serious. I suggest that relevant authorities engage these gold panners and educate them against ‘swiping’ young girls,” said Dr Phiri.
Zibagwe Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer, Farayi Machaya, said they are taking necessary steps to make sure that they replace the junior councillors who are part of the Kwekwe Junior Council.
“We are in the process of replacing the councillors and our officials are taking necessary steps to ensure that they are replaced. It is worrying that they are supposed to be role models themselves but the worst then happens to them.It is a touching development that everyone should work in trying to address,” he said.
Kwekwe District has a total of 56 junior councillors from Kwekwe City, Zibagwe Rural District Council and Redcliff Municipality. Zibagwe RDC, which caters for the rural part was the worst affected.