Gender Gender

Children’s safety vital

Children’s Corner with MWAPE MWENYA
THE Zambia International Trade Fair is around the corner. Parents, guardians, exhibitors and the international community are preparing for the event.
People from around the country and the SADC region will flock to Ndola to be part of this mammoth celebration.
This will even involve kindergartens and tertiary institutions that will exhibit their activities.
It is, therefore, imperative that parents, guardians and the relevant authorities take into consideration the safety of children who will be part of this important annual event.
Zambia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and this is a human rights treaty, which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.
This Convention defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen who requires protection from the central government.
Zambia is among nations that ratified this convention and are therefore bound to it by international law.
What people should not forget is that it is not Government alone that should protect the interests of children; this requires concerted efforts from all well-meaning citizens.
A number of Non-Governmental Organisations who are working to uplift the welfare of vulnerable children should join hands and denounce violence which is threatening the peace of children.
Denouncing violence is especially important in that children are vulnerable when it comes to violence, especially political violence as people involved use dangerous weapons that may cause serious harm to children.
As Zambia heads to the polls in August, almost all gatherings are being considered as political gatherings by selfish politicians.
My appeal as a parent is for relevant authorities to ban political regalia during the International Trade Fair celebrations so as to avoid violence among cadres.
The fact that it will be inevitable not to have political regalia, it will be helpful for police to also keep vigil on political parties that may cause unnecessary havoc and put the lives of children in danger.
There is a saying that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ and it is against this background that children should be given opportunities to enjoy their freedom without fear of being found in circumstances that may endanger their lives.
Let political parties sensitise their cadres not to engage in any form of violence during the celebrations as this will only put off children who want to also witness what goes on at the trade fair.
Let not politics divide the peace of the nation especially the fact that our children will be a part of the celebrations.
Some parents also have the habit of leaving children in the care of either their teen sisters or brothers and in some instances maids while they go elsewhere to enjoy alcoholic drinks.
No parent in their normal state of mind would want their child to be a statistic of child trafficking, accidents, rape defilement and death.
They say prevention is better than cure and for this reason, it is imperative that parents take care of their children during the trade fair so that if we are to blame, we will definitely blame them for recklessness.
My advice to parents who feel that they may not manage staying with their children at the show, then is to pay for DStv and let them stay indoors or better still take them somewhere else for a family outing that will allow you bond with them.
It is traumatising to read statistics of children who go missing, defiled or run over by vehicles during the show when those children could have been in the comfort of their homes watching cartoons.
It is sad to note that young girls and boys take advantage of such gathering to taste alcoholic drinks and illicit drugs.
The Drug Enforcement Commission should be on the ground to ensure that such things do not happen; in fact they should start such campaigns now so that the youths are aware of what will befall them if they dare engage in such activities.
An incident free trade fair is possible if political parties and the nation at large realise that we are all one people irrespective of political affiliation and our children deserve undisturbed peace at all times.
mwape.mwenya@gmail.com

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