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LEAD President Statement on the Day of the African Child

By Linda Masarira

As Africa celebrates the day of the African child it is important to also note that the real African child has nothing to celebrate. African children are being exploited as cheap labour in the DRC, Tanzania, South Africa and many other African countries. The African child is being murdered in cold blood in Mozambique, Libya and other war torn African countries. Sadly millions of children in Africa live in abject poverty and those who get an opportunity to at least go to school have no hope whatsoever of a brighter future as the political elite do not prioritize quality education for the poor African citizens in their states.

The theme for the Day of the African Child (DAC) this year is “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”. The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Committee), established under Articles 32 and 33 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Charter) selected this theme for the commemoration of the DAC in 2021.

Labour Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) acknowledges the Day of the African Child (DAC) as an important day to promote children’s rights and welfare issues. Beyond the recognition of this day on the 16th of June every year, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child should move from just an advocacy tool to an action committee that penalizes all African countries that are not prioritizing the protection and welfare of children in their states. How do we celebrate children in Africa when their future is bleak and hopeless? How do we inspire a sober reflection and action towards addressing the plethora of challenges that children face on a daily basis when African LEADers prefer to be puppets of other countries without taking care of their own first?

Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children has got very valid and real aspirations which unfortunately remain just writings in a booklet which have zero monitoring and evaluation models to ensure implementation from member states.

Today I challenge all the 55 States of Africa to commit to implement the following aspirations as soon as possible to ensure that children in Africa have sustainable livelihoods.

Aspiration 1: The African Children’s Charter, as supervised by the African Children’s Committee, provides an effective continental framework for advancing children’s rights

Aspiration 2: An effective child-friendly national legislative, policy and institutional framework is in place in all Member States

Aspiration 3: Every child’s birth and other vital statistics are registered

Aspiration 4: Every child survives and has a healthy childhood

Aspiration 5: Every child grows up well-nourished and with access to the basic necessities of life

Aspiration 6: Every child benefits fully from quality education

Aspiration 7: Every child is protected against violence, exploitation, neglect and abuse

Aspiration 8: Children benefit from a child-sensitive criminal system

Aspiration 9: Every child is free from the impact of armed conflicts and other disasters or emergency situations

Aspiration 10: African children’s views matter

As the LEADer of LEAD, I am making a commitment today to hold the government of Zimbabwe to implement and uphold the aspirations of the Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children.

It is sad that right here in my beloved Zimbabwe we have children way below 16 who are being exploited in farms, mining settlements and domestic work. Children are being pimped for sexploitation & turned into beggars by some ruthless and unscrupulous people. Children and young people in Zimbabwe are in a drug and substance abuse pandemic and we are fast losing a generation. It takes a community to raise a child, today I make a clarion call to all Zimbabweans to be the custodians of every child in their community. To hold all elected officials to account to ensure that children are protected and that their rights as enshrined in section 81 of the constitution of Zimbabwe are upheld.

We all have an obligation to nurture an environment that will inspire hope for a brighter future for all African children regardless of class in the society.

#TogetherWeCan uplift the Afrikan child to prosperity and a life free from fear and want.

Linda Tsungirirai Masarira
LEAD President

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