Government has been petitioned to allow children participation in the selection of national leaders through voting.
Children who gathered to participate in this year’s Day of the African Child commemoration in Ndola petitioned government to review the voting age to 16, to allow children participate in the selection of leaders.
Speaking on behalf of other children, Kanseshi High School Grade 11 pupil, Grace Phiri, regretted that the kevels of child participation in national matters and particularly those relating to children still require to be raised substantially.
“We the children of Zambia, feel that the level of child participation in our matters can still be taken to greater heights, we feel that children should be allowed to vote at the age of 16 to allow them to participate in choosing the leaders of the nation,” she said.
The children also advised government to view them as partners in national development and involve them in matters of decision making at all levels.
The children also challenged parents to discuss HIV/AIDS and issues of Voluntary Counselling and Testing, VCT, openly with children.
“We want our parents to openly and willingly discuss HIV/AIDS and VCT issues with us and not to view it as a taboo,” she said.
Meanwhile, government reiterated its commitment to equip children with ife saving skills to help them grow into responsible citizens capable of contributing to national development.
Youth Sport and Child Development Deputy Minister, Angela Cifire, said this today when she officiated at the commemoration of the Day of the African Child in Ndola this morning.
Ms Cifire explained that government reviewed the national child policy, which now takes on board new issues in the area of child welfare and development such as child headed households, child abuse, HIV/AIDS, Streetism, child labour among others.
Speaking earlier, United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Deputy Country Representative, Elspeth Erickson, emphasised the need for children to realise their rights, that she said, came with responsibility.
Zambia today joined the rest of the continent in commemorating the International Day for the African Child.
June 16 th was declared the Day of the African Child to commemorate the Killing of innocent school children in Soweto, South Africa, on June 16 1976.