Child abuse brewing

As Government plans to recruit school children to participate in anti-sanctions march

Dear United Nations and SADC,

Whatever intentions SADC had when they came up with a resolution to lobby for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe, I am sure if they look back they will realize some of the immediate results of the resolution are reckless plunder of resources by Government through the spending of budgeted resources and the abuse of children, and I hope the United Nations and SADC will move in to put a stop on some of these excesses.

I am sure Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube will agree that the expenditure on the sanctions lobby activities wasn’t budgeted for, but we hear Monica Mutsvangwa announcing after that there will be celebrations in every district of the country, and Nick Mangwana adding that there will be musicians, comedians and soccer teams lined up to celebrate and that children will be frog marched to participate too.

What worries me most is that Government is now trying to abuse children who are supposed to be in school. Even if the teachers may be on strike because the Government has no money to pay them, but instantly finds money to sponsor such activities as gatherings to lobby for removal of sanctions. This is total madness. I hope someone finds the brains to tell SADC that if they want to lobby against sanctions, they should arrange a SADC delegation to meet with the sanctions enforcers and talk through their issues. Perhaps Eddie Cross who seems to be listened to by both Mthuli Ncube and Emmerson Mnangagwa should try to reason with Government to stop this nonsense, and request through Government of Zimbabwe, which on its own has, I should believe, met with the sanctions enforcers on numerous occasions to take the suggestion to rope in SADC in their discussions with the sanctions enforcers. Unicef is also called upon to advise Government of Zimbabwe against abuse of children in this manner. I also appeal to the Comrades in the POLAD Grouping to really introspect this charade they are allowing themselves to be dragged into. Respectable journalist and member of the Presidential Advisory Team should also help advise the President on how the actions of his Government amount to child abuse. Let’s not be hypocrites who shout about stopping child abuse when we are doing the very same thing.

This practice of frog marching children to Zanu PF rallies is a practice that was started under Robert Mugabe dictatorship, and one would have expected a “new dispensation” to change tact and respect the choices of children, who have parents who should sign off when the children go on expeditions outside school activities done away from the school premises. So if the so called new dispensation is continuing with the old dictatorial ways of Robert Mugabe, I will be very quick to called the current President of Zimbabwe Dictator Mnangagwa. And during the liberation war, we used to shout Down with Dictators.

My parting message is, SADC must revisit its proposal relating to lobbying for the removal of sanctions and find appropriate ways of dialogue with the sanction enforcers as the first step. I don’t think that spending scarce money and fill stadiums with school children across the country and hiring comedians and musicians across the country is the best way of communicating with the sanction enforcers.

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