Editor's Comment

Let’s be firm on morality

IT is unbelievable that Zambia is still grappling with immorality such as premature sexual relations that lead to teenage pregnancies, teenage alcoholism, gender-based violence, streetism and defilements.
There are various reasons why these vices are not supposed to be prevalent.
Zambia is a Christian nation, therefore the country’s values are expected to be above board.
This declaration has been reinforced by the day of prayer and repentance held every year.
Despite all this, President Edgar Lungu has observed that teenage pregnancies continue to be a growing concern in the country.
Teenage pregnancies undermine the rights of girls and compromise their opportunity to fully realise their potential.
It is good that Government is implementing measures to end teenage pregnancy.
However, Government alone cannot fight this vice given its magnitude and the size of the country. While the re-entry school policy has mitigated this problem of teenage pregnancies, it remains rampant in rural areas.
This is despite Government and cooperating partners’ efforts to promote equity in access to education, especially by girls from vulnerable households through the implementation of the ‘Keeping Girls in School’ programme.
There is need for concerted efforts by cooperating partners, civil society, traditional leaders and religious organisations to intensify this fight.
That we have children who live on the streets is an indictment to our society. Streetism is a result of the break-down in family values.
It is evidence of demise of the extended family system.
While Government may intervene through the street children programme, which provides social support and rehabilitation services to street children, the buck stops at the family and the community because they are the origin of the problem.
Re-integrating the children back into their families is the solution.
Families must therefore play their parental and guardian role to keep the children off the streets.
Another challenge on the moral front is defilement, an inhuman act that deprives victims of their right to live dignified lives.
Scars from being defiled have lasting negative effects.
Government and other stakeholders have taken steps to raise awareness in communities.
Further, the enactment of stiff penalties against culprits is expected to deter perpetrators.
Families and communities should play their part by taking responsibility and speaking out against this vice as well as helping in the rehabilitation of victims.
Another concern is that of alcohol and substance abuse, especially among our young people.
It is unacceptable that alcoholism and substance abuse remain one of the biggest challenges despite efforts being made to stem the vice.
Continued sensitisation on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse is part of the solution.
Parents, guardians, community leaders along with traditional and religious leaders should continue playing that cardinal role in shaping the morals of Zambia’s society.
It is a pity that gender-based violence has continued to rear its ugly head despite the stiff penalties being handed to culprits.
Government and other stakeholders are addressing the consequences of gender-based violence by providing moral, emotional, medical and legal support to victims.
This has included counselling and legal support to victims.
All well-meaning citizens should join hands with Government in the fight against gender-based violence.
While Government has done its part by supporting victims and expeditiously disposing of gender-based violence cases, including the continued establishment of one-stop centres and user-friendly fast-track courts, more needs to be done.
Zambians should have change of mindset for the country to make much more progress in the application of national values and principles.
This is of absolute importance because a nation anchored on firm values and principles accomplishes great things.

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