Columnists Features

Perpetrators of child neglect must be punished

Lt. Gen. NATHAN MULENGA
SO many a time, I sadly hear of stories of parents, fathers in particular, busy wining, dining and dancing in plush hotels, bars and restaurants while their own families remain condemned to live in despair.
I fail to imagine how a man can simply neglect to tend to the needs of his family in preference to worldly pleasures which in my view are short lived.
Hypocritical as we are, we go about bragging about our families and how much we love our wives and children.
I seriously challenge one of us to seriously let our actions mirror our words.
By neglecting our families, we are contributing to child neglect.
Many times over, I have listened to many eminent persons, churches and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) voice against many vices such as early marriages, gender-based violence, child labour, the list is endless, while the voice against child neglect is silent or where it is voiced it is in whispers.
In my view, child neglect should be of grave concern as it is the root cause of all these many human rights advocates campaign against.
I strongly appeal that perpetrators of child neglect be criminally cited and stiffly punished.
It is irrefutable, neglect a child, he goes on the streets.
Neglect a child, she seeks solace in early marriage.
Neglect a child, a child-mother is made.
Neglect a child, a criminal is born.
Neglect a child drug and other illicit substances take the upper hand.
Neglect a child that child become a victim of various diseases.
Neglect a child that innocent soul is taken up prematurely to be in the bosom of the almighty.
Neglect a child and consign the future of this nation to doom.
These are but some of the hard facts and should not be taken lightly. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves and stand up with one voice to stem out this vice.
Still on this subject, I beg not to be misunderstood, nothing is said to be wrong to go out and socialise, and in fact it is good to interact with friends and colleagues for as long as it is not done at the expense of the family.
The author is Zambia National Service commandant. The write-up is an extract of a speech he delivered at a wedding ceremony in Lusaka last Saturday.

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