By Taruberekera Masara in Pretoria
We are commemorating this year’s Day of the African Child in Covid 19 induced lockdown for the second year running. Times are hard,its not business as usual.
There are plenty of reports detailing the suffering of Zimbabwe children, yet we commemorate their struggle without fail each year with no significant change in their lives. The situation of children across the African continent is not much better either, many continue to have their human rights violated.
Poverty in Zimbabwe has been on unchecked rise,so has been youth unemployment,child marriages and pregnancies. We have witnessed a lot of ritual killings that target the children. A case in point the Tapiwa Makore issue,the Chivhu quartet who were murdered by own mother,the Torwood case the list is endless. It’s been tough time. Children are facing the ravages of Covid 19 induced economic hardships.
The government is not doing much to help the situation. Yet it has promised a lot and still come out with more promises. What is the government doing?
It is painful that no practical solutions are being set up to address the issues on the ground. It’s business as usual. When an economy fails to respond to the majority it means something is wrong. Youths and children in Zimbabwe contribute to around 80% of the population and they’re the most impoverished. Sadly the environment and the ecosystem are not inspiring at all.
On rhetoric our government has scored positively. Position papers speaks audibly on what must be done. The missing link is the actual actions. The lives of children in Zimbabwe are deplorable. They need to come out of the malaise. Words must be turned into practice.
The situation of children across the African continent is not much better either. The Day of the African Child will see little more than hollow celebrations.
African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, drew 10 aspirations as part of the theme for the commemoration of the Day of the African Child in 2021, which are largely unfulfilled.
These include that every child must be assisted to survive and have a healthy childhood; be allowed to grow up well-nourished and with access to the necessities of life; benefit fully from quality education; be protected against violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse; and be free from the impact of armed conflicts and other disasters or emergency situations.
African children continue to have their rights violated, despite the many continental instruments conferring on them key human rights and freedoms.
As we commemorate Youth Day and the Day of the African Child the clarion call on the Zanu PF led government and all opposition parties,is please, for once do something or say something that will end with tangible results. It is no use politicising the challenges faced by our youth today when you are doing nothing about it. Think positively and act positively. Don’t use the challenges of the youth to craft your party manifestos so that you sell them hope at every turn when we transact elections.
Inequalities today speaks of majority black poverty, landlessness and menial employment, and minority wealth, land ownership and skilled employment. The outstanding question is how will it finally come to an end. That we would one day all be equal and that the children of Soweto who died on that fatal day would not have died in vain.
While much has changed and improved, sadly, you will have read that in many fronts of life that much has not. We still have Charters and Treaties which have not been ratified. Why do we fancy ideas in black and white and not in real life situations.
Young unemployed people put faces and heart-breaking stories to the alarming statistic our country faces of more than 90% youth unemployment. Their stories speak of the desperation that the majority of Zimbabweans feel.
The second Republic have to find a way of ending the inequality between minority wealth and majority poverty-stricken. To answer the question :What can we do to give our young people a fighting chance of a future?
If we think of ourselves as intrinsically connected to each other as fellow human beings, not liberals and socialists, conservatives and radicals, black, white, coloured and Indian, but people who live side by side in a terribly impoverished country, what can business, government, churches, NGOs and ordinary citizens do to solve the youth unemployment crisis?
If you can imagine a new Zimbabwe and want to help our youth as you always promise to do, you can make a start by considering what is in the best interest of Zimbabwean children.
The Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the OAU Organisation of African Unity.
It honors those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in 1976 on that day.