Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has suggested castration of child rapists to curb the crime, which he described as a rampant problem.
President Mugabe told lawmakers from his Zanu-PF party after officially opening parliament on Tuesday that his new government must introduce stiffer penalties for rape.
“Fathers be aware. We are going to make it very, very tough for you,” he said.
"No molestation of youngsters, not molestation of women.”
The 89-year-old leader said it was time to consider tougher sentences, especially for child rapists.
“We are going to increase sentences,” President Mugabe said.
“In the past, there was death for rape but these days those campaigning for human rights say its inhuman, it dehumanises a person
“But these are people who dehumanise others. If you kill someone they say punishment of that nature is dehumanising, for a person who killed someone?
“This is where I disagree. An eye for an eye. Not in that way, I was thinking for rapists we should castrate them and the person remains alive.
“But that which makes him rape, must go. Are there any many here who are against that?”
According to police, more than 1,600 children were reported raped in the first half of the year in Zimbabwe.
The main culprits were relatives, mostly advised by traditional healers that having sex with minors can cure HIV/Aids.
“Rape cases have increased by five per cent as we recorded a total of 2,440 in the first half of the year compared to 2,326 recorded during the same period last year,” police spokesperson Blessmore Chishaka told local media early this month.
“We are concerned with this increase in rape cases because most of them involved girls below the age of 16 years.”
He said the number of women who were raped during the first half of the year had gone up to 812 from 773 the same period last year.