Child singing praise to the president, abuse of children’s right
By ALICE NACHILEMBE
Zambia Civic Education Association says publicizing videos of children singing praises of presidential candidates is not child participation but manipulation of children’s rights.
ZCEA Executive Director Judith Mulenga said contrary to some Patriotic Front cadres who claim that the girl child singing asking God to guide and bless President Lungu, in a video that has purportedly gone viral, is exercising her right.
Ms Mulenga said as provided for in articles 12 to 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention provides for respect for the child’s views giving due weight to the child’s age and maturity.
She says this principle in the child rights framework requires that before adults in children’s lives and government officials make any decision that effect children, the children ought to be given an opportunity to give their opinion on the issue and their views be taken into consideration as the final decision is made.
“Child participation is about talking, listening to, encouraging and supporting children to contribute, and following up on their thoughts and ideas but at the same time being open, honest and realistic with them on the degree of involvement they can have,” she said.
Ms Mulenga said exploiting children to appeal to voters’ emotions is neither original nor creative.
She said It is incredulous that a government that has continuously failed the girl child in Zambia as empirically established by the African Child Policy Forum’s 2020 Girl-Friendliness Index with Zambia scoring very low being placed among the less girl friendly countries in Africa.
Ms Mulenga said from the findings of the Index the Zambian girl has been failed by the government in reducing hunger with malnutrition high among 31% of under five girls stunted.