CHIEF Madzimawe’s robust fight for children’s rights and societal decency deserves international applause.
It is a fight that seeks to secure lives of children and also signifies the important place they occupy as future leaders of any country.
What we invest in our children today will definitely have a bearing on the contributions they will make to our country when the mantle of leadership is handed over to them.
It is, therefore, not only in the best interest of children and families but the country as a whole, to ensure that young ones are nurtured into responsible and productive citizens.
The family, being the first point of socialisation, is the best place where children should be groomed into responsible adults.
Parents in particular bear the biggest responsibility to raise children in a responsible manner befitting societal norms.
We are, however, baffled that some parents in Chipata have been permitting their children to go and dance in a local tavern at the expense of their education.
This has infuriated Chief Madzimawe, and justifiably so. He has since penalised five parents for allowing their children between the ages of 12 and 17 to be tavern dancers.
According to Chief Madzimawe, the kids involved are six; two boys and four girls.
He said the kids, who are all pupils at Madzimawe Primary School, in grade five and seven, though they were not drinking beer, had been turned into entertainers by the bar owner and would go up to as late as 23:00 hours.
We are left wondering what kind of future these parents expect of their children.
The Bible in Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
If children are trained to be dancing kings and queens in bars now, then we can be assured that even when they grow up, they will not depart from these ways.
They will probably, along the way, even adopt more vices such as alcohol abuse and sexual immorality given the environment they are exposed to.
We therefore commend Chief Madzimawe for acting swiftly to save the lives of the young children.
The action of Chief Madzimawe is in tandem with Article 36 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child, which states that children should be protected from any activity that takes advantage of them or could harm their welfare and development.
There is no doubt that if these children are not protected from this form of exploitation, chances are that they will perform badly in school or drop out altogether.
Chief Madzimawe has acted in the best interest of the children and the country as a whole by penalising the five parents found guilty.
Such parents are a disgrace and danger to society and deserve stiffer punishment.
It is our hope that the punishment meted out to the five parents will help them reform as well as deter would-be offenders.
It is also good that we have been assured that the bar owner will not go scot-free but will be dealt with accordingly. This will deter other bar owners from abusing children in similar ways.
We urge other chiefs in the country to emulate Chief Madzimawe, who has shown true leadership in fighting vices that hinder development in his chiefdom.
He has been working tirelessly to change the negative perception that parents and children in his area have about education.
Chief Madzimawe, who has formed a foundation against child marriages, is also on record to have punished one of his village headmen and his assistant for enforcing an unwritten law which secretly supports the vice.
If all chiefs and indeed citizens were as concerned and proactive as Chief Madzimawe, our society would be a better place for grooming future leaders.