Analysis: EMELDA MUSONDA
AS the year 2017 closes its curtains to give way to 2018, it will certainly be remembered by many people for different things, both good and bad.
However, from a Christian perspective, the year was indicative of the rate at which society’s moral fibre is degenerating.
The year points to the huge responsibility that lies on the shoulders of the family, church and Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs to inculcate moral values in the general citizenry, especially the younger generation.
As the year winds down, memories are still fresh on some of the moral shockers the country experienced at the hands of young people.
SEX PARTY/ YOUTH DELINQUENCY
Seventy teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 where this year arrested in Lusaka’s Kabulonga area after being found engaging in a sex party.
The police officers who raided the house where the party was hosted found empty bottles of beer and condoms on the scene.
In another shocking event, two pupils at Chengelo School in Mkushi were expelled after a two-minute video went viral in which they were captured brutally beating up a fellow pupil over a girl. The savagery acts of these pupils raised uproar across various sections of society.
Eight Grade 12 pupils at Kapiri Girls National Technical School were expelled for being in possession of mobile phones containing nude pictures and videos, which the learners were sharing.
In Luanshya, police arrested five boys of Kafulafuta Boarding Secondary School for allegedly gang-raping a Grade 10 female pupil, while in Siavonga, two male pupils were also apprehended for rape.
The common nature of early marriages is that elderly men are taking young girls for brides. However, this year, the nation was treated to a shocker by revelations that a 13-year-old boy of Nsonga Primary School in Chief Kalasalukangaba in Mansa had married his 11-year-old school-mate. This news sent a chilling effect in anti-child marriages activists and society as a whole.
The two children, who had dropped out of school and started staying together, where thankfully separated by the Mansa District Child Protection Committee and enrolled back into school.
The bizarre activities by young people that characterise this year certainly point to a missing link in parenting and grooming of young people.
There is certainly something the older generation is not doing right in grooming responsible and morally upright citizens.
If solutions are not found now, we risk having morally bankrupt future leaders to the detriment of the entire nation.
2017 will also go in the annals for the expose of fake teachers. The teaching profession underwent a major shakeup after it was discovered that over 498 teachers had forged qualifications, and by last month, the number had actually swelled to 743.
One hundred teachers, who pleaded guilty after appearing before the Teaching Service Commission, have since been dismissed while more are yet to follow suit.
Contrary to what teachers are known to be – role models – the nation was taken aback recently when three teachers from Mkushi Boarding Secondary School and one from Chalata Boarding Secondary School were caught in a sex party with pupils.
This year will also be remembered for the many spousal killings which have continued to wreak havoc on families with notable names such as Reeves Malambo and Precious Longwe.
Many lives have continued to be lost at the hands of spouses, a situation that is leaving children hopeless. It is a double tragedy for children, who are being robbed of one parent through death while the surviving one is also taken away through incarceration.
LGBTIs SATURDAY CLINICS
While homosexuality is illegal and considered an abomination in a Christian nation like ours, it was shocking to learn that there are Saturday clinics in various health institutions, including the University Teaching Hospital, which attend to this group of people.
Another moral shocker is an expose’ that was made by the Sunday Mail of sex rings in which older women in Lusaka are recruiting girls from tertiary institutions and linking them up with older men for sex.
Police in Lusaka recently arrested two women over a baby donation saga. A pregnant woman registered under another woman’s name at the hospital and later donated the baby to the name bearer, who is alleged to be barren. The scam was exposed after neighbours suspected a case of infanticide and alerted the police.
In another unfortunate development, a 48-year-old man was arrested in Eastern Province for defiling his 15-year-old biological daughter and fathering a child with her, with the consent of the girl’s mother, in a ritual aimed at making the family wealthy.
All these events are but a tip of the iceberg on the levels of moral decay in our society.
As we open a new chapter in 2018, let the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs work closely with schools, the Church and other stakeholders in finding ways of strengthening society’s moral fibre. And the starting point is entrenching Christian values at a tender age.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.