By Staff Reporter
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has utilized the Presidential Powers Act to amend the Criminal Law Code, reestablishing the age of consent at eighteen (18) years.
The age of consent signifies the legal competence to engage in sexual acts, setting the minimum age for individuals to legally agree to such activities.
In 2022, sections of the Criminal Law pertaining to sexual crimes were declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.
Specifically, the court found fault with provisions defining “young people” for sexual consent as those under 16.
Despite the court’s ruling, a 12-month suspension was granted to Parliament for the drafting of a revised law. Unfortunately, this period lapsed on May 24, 2023, creating a legal loophole that enabled offenders to evade consequences.
This gap has now been sealed through Statutory Instrument 2 of 2024, titled Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Criminal Laws (Protection of Children and Young Persons) Regulations, 2024.
The new regulation criminalizes sexual intercourse with individuals below the age of 18, imposing up to 10 years of imprisonment for offenders.