The Real Reason Why Authorities Want To Reduce The Age Of Sexual Consent To 12
12 November 2020
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Tendai Nyikavanhu

I BELIEVE the petition by the Advocacy Core Team (ACT), seeking among other things to lower the legal age of consent to 12 years of age, is a smokescreen and a rather deceptive strategy which will destroy the lives and future of children under 18 years of age in Zimbabwe.

The people of Zimbabwe need to wake up and realise that the flow of money and donor funds to the youth, women’s movements and even to the Parliament of Zimbabwe is part of a broad political and social strategy to rupture the country’s moral fabric and social structure.

The Advocacy Core Team (ACT) and Compass Project represents a multi-sectoral coalition of 22 organisations working to promote abortion, sex work, and sexual rights (lesbian, gays, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, inter-sex / LGBTQI), and use health as an entry-point to drive this agenda among our adolescents and young people.

All the organisations — Right Here, Right Now Zimbabwe; PITCH; SAfAIDS, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights Africa Trust; Youth Advocates Zimbabwe (YAZ), and Zimbabwe Young Positives are a broad coalition of movements created by civil society organisations with donor funding as channels to advance the abortion agenda and sexual rights.

The coalition’s core philosophies are deeply antithetical to the public morality of Zimbabwe as a society. By supposedly pushing a “progressive agenda”, the coalition is exploiting health as the easiest entry-point to create a social crisis and chaos for the nation of Zimbabwe, and destroy its social fabric by removing good old cultural and Christian values from the public domain, and nurturing rebellion against social authority figures.

You may want to ask, who is really funding the agenda? What is their agenda? Unless you examine the petitioning movements (organisations), and who their “paymasters” and “handlers” are, you can easily treat the petition as a genuine concern for children and their health and social issues, and thus remain deceived.

The following civil society organisations — ROOTS Africa; Youth Engage; My Age; Galz (an association of gays and lesbians in Zimbabwe); Trans Smart Trust; Justice for Children; Chiedza Community Welfare Trust; Women Action Group (WAG); Adult Rape Clinic; Population Services Zimbabwe (PSZ, an affiliate of Marie Stopes International); Katswe Sistahood; Dot Youth; Paediatric Adolescents Treatment Africa (PATA); Youth Advisory Panel; Girl Child Empowerment Zimbabwe; She Decides Zimbabwe; students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT), and Trans and Intersex Zimbabwe — are pro-abortion and are funded largely by key foreign donors including SIDA, DFID and actively supported by development partners such as UN agencies. Vanoda kushura nyika, kutadzisa mvura kunaya pamusana pekutungamidza matakanyanya akadaro uyezve kuti vana vedu vakure semombe dzemashanga.

Please understand the abortion, sex work and LGBTQI ecosystem and industry for what it is. It is well-funded, and was created with a clear social, political and economic agenda. It uses it financial muscle to carve out space for programming and policy influence.

As Zimbabweans, why have we given UN agencies and donors the unfettered programming and policy space in health and social sectors, particularly pertaining to the lives of children, youth and women? How have civil society organisations occupied the place of parents and families, and achieved an upper hand in matters related to children and health policy and programming?

Why have we as Zimbabweans relinquished national sovereignty and allowed these institutions to dictate to the Parliament of Zimbabwe on programming issues related to our people through the Parliamentary Programme Co-ordination Unit (PCU)? Can we claim security of the nation when its Parliament shares authority with others (development partners, proxies of development partners etc)?

Is it not time that we rethink national security in our Parliament, and moderate the powers and influence of proxies of foreign agents and donors/development partners in health. Health is a national security issue!

The Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga is right by asserting health as national security issue. If you understand biological warfare, use of health research as a “informational weapon” to engineer health and social interventions, and the export of blood samples of citizens of Zimbabwe as part of covert medical research and technologies, then you should be concerned with the drive to expose our children below the age of 16 years to health interventions such as contraceptives and “safe abortion” without parental/guardian consent.

Unless we resist the unfettered expansion of space to donors, civil society organisations and proxies interested mainly in disintegration of social order and structure, the future of our children, young people, and ultimately the destiny of our country is in jeopardy. Why are we finding it hard as a nation to see the strategic importance of health and the youth as national security issues? There is need to manage entry and players in the health and social sectors largely from a national security standpoint, and prevent deceitful strategies from disintegrating our social structure using health and youth issues as weapons. We can’t be naively complicit in the intentional process of disintegration.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe clearly articulates the right to healthcare services including reproductive health services to all, and enshrines children’s rights to education, health services, nutrition and shelter. In terms of section 81(1), every child, that is to say every boy and girl under the age of 18 years, has the right: (d) to family or parental care, to appropriate care, when removed from the family environment; (e) to be protected from economic and sexual exploitation, from child labour, and from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse; (f) to education, healthcare services, nutrition and shelter. Section 81(2) states that a child’s best interests are paramount in every matter concerning the child.

These constitutional provisions are clear, and, therefore, affirm that a child is child requiring family and parental care, and protection from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation while having access to education, healthcare services, nutrition and shelter. In view of the above, why are civil society organisations and development partners pushing for “de-parenting” of children and treating parents/family as not suitable for exercising “protective duty” and duty to care for children? Are civil society organisations, movements and UN agencies fit to care for our children better than the family or parents?

Whose agenda are they driving? Who is financing them these matters, which may be opposite to public morality position in Zimbabwe? Is it why UNDP co-chairs the Parliamentary Programme Co-ordination Unit (PCU) in the Parliament of Zimbabwe? How have development partners and donors wielded and entrenched such influence over one of the arms of government of Zimbabwe?

Is this standard practice for foreign development partners, donors, and civil society organisations to actively co-ordinate programmes in European or American legislature? All these questions point to the need to question the independence of Parliament and possibilities of manipulation of various Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, primarily on HIV and Aids, and some Parliamentarians, to drive the agenda on lowering the age of consent to below 16 years.

Wake up Zimbabweans. The lowering of the age of consent to below 16 years in not about access to healthcare services; it is about destroying your greatest asset — children and young people. It is all about stripping children of all their rights and protections, including the right to family and parental care. The children will be left without defence, and predators will have a feast on our children.

NewsDay Columnist