What you need to know:
The issue: Child abuse
Our view: We should not just stand by and sigh sadly when little innocent ones are killed in cold blood because of jealousy, greed and selfishness. We need to come to their rescue, and fast.
The cases of child abuse being reported in the news rather regularly, unfortunately, signify that the family fabric of the nation is loosening.
In the Daily Monitor of April 25, was a story titled, “Father jailed 45 years for strangling son to death” Couple jailed for killing their 8-year-old son. The culprit David Buyinza was sentenced for strangling and dumping the body of his eight-year-old son. Two weeks earlier, Daily Monitor published a story with the headline, “Neighbour beats 6-year-old pupil to death over peas”, in which it is alleged that when the neighbour saw the pupil stealing peas from his garden, he went and beat him severely and twisted his neck, leaving him for dead.
In yet another story that run in March, “10-year-old girl murdered after defilement”, a girl who had gone to fetch water with her brother was found murdered in a farm.
All these stories of the brutal abuse and murder of children all 10 years and below is shocking and calls for a re-examination into how unsafe children are countrywide.
The Constitution is very clear on who a child is and what they have a right to, including food, health, education and protection.
It is also clear that if a child, just like an adult, is found to have broken the law, they should be treated as the law of the land demands and taken to an institution for juveniles to determine whether they indeed committed a crime and what rehabilitation is necessary. This means no one should take the law into their own hands and determine how to punish a child on behalf of the state.
Those who do so should be appropriately handled, just like Buyinza was by the court, and sentenced for having killed his son.
These cases however also point to the fact that many parents are unaware of their duties towards their children. They are unaware of what the law says and where to seek help. Worse, they also point to a loss of values and principles in our communities. Children should be the first people to receive help, guidance and protection from anyone in the community, especially their parents and guardians. When stories such as these are reported almost each day, it signals a need for more to be done.
These are some of the things that the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi should take a look at beginning with doing research on these cases, and looking for solutions to reduce what seem like spiralling numbers.
We should not just stand by and sigh sadly when little innocent ones are killed in cold blood because of jealousy, greed and selfishness. We need to come to their rescue, and fast.
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