President Lungu Anti-Early Marriages Campaign is Ill-Informed

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GREEN Party Presidential Candidate Peter Sinkamba
GREEN Party Presidential Candidate Peter Sinkamba

By Peter Sinkamba

PPRESIDENT LUNGU ANTI-EARLY MARRIAGES CAMPAIGN IS ILL-INFORMED: IS IT A MUTATION OF THE FAMILY PLANNING CONTRACEPTIVES GIMMICK OR WHAT?

President Edgar Lungu is in New York where he is attending the UN General Assembly. His key campaign message to the General Assembly is on ending early child marriages by 2030. Back home, he plan to enact a law which makes it a criminal offence to marry before the age of 21 as a deterrent to early child marriages.

The question is: Is early child marriage really an issue of serious concern in Zambia, in the first place, which is worth pushing on global scale? As The Greens, we hold a dissenting view. From empirical evidence, we do not think it is an agenda worth pushing at the level of Head of State because there is no meritorious motivation at all backed by facts. If anything, we hold the view that this anti-early child marriage thing is a mutation of the notorious contraceptives family planning gimmick which has acutely cost many gullible nations like Zambia, and thereby aggravating their poverty.

Let’s take Zambia, for example. The overall, life expectancy in Zambia, at birth has fallen to 37.5 years, is the fourth lowest in the world due to the burden of disease. The burden is particularly evident in children under age 5. It is expected that 60 per cent of babies born will not survive to the age of 40. Malaria is said to be responsible for one third of under-five deaths, with many others caused by respiratory infections, diarrhea and neo-natal conditions. Although not usually cited as the cause of death, it is estimated that malnutrition is an underlying factor in 54 per cent of child deaths. From this empirical evidence, it is very clear that environmental degradation, especially arising from pollution of air, water, and soil, is the largest culprit for high child mortality rate in Zambia. From public health point of view, early child marriage is nowhere in the picture in so far as appalling low life expectancy statistics in Zambia are concerned.

From the economic view point, of the total working-age population estimated at 8 million, females are comfortably ahead at 52 per cent while males are below at 48 per cent. Further, in terms of labour force participation, males have a lower participation rate at 77 percent as compared to females at 78 per cent. There are more economically independent women than their male counterparts.

The existing state of knowledge therefore does not warrant any clear-cut generalization that early child marriages has had an adverse effect on the women, particularly as regard to economic status. In actual fact, from statistics point of view, women are economically better off than men.

The question then is: since there is no compelling evidence which point to early child marriage as having an adverse impact on economic and health status of our female population or indeed associating the extremely low life expectancy in Zambia to early child marriages, what then is motivation for the President Lungu’s to drive the anti-early child marriage campaign at global stage? Is it because the donors are promising to provide more financial support in that direction? Or he is so gullible that he can not pick this is another family planning gimmick mutating from contraceptives to early child marriages to sustain the poverty of our masses?

As a leadership and State, we must be wary of some of these donor supported programmes anchored around ulterior motives. We must ask ourselves, why for example, early child marriage campaigns in Zambia should be priority instead of environmental pollution which is ravaging the nation and depleting valuable human capital. We must ask ourselves why all donors, but the Netherlands, have pulled out of supporting environmental pollution when this is the major contributor to the health burden in our country. We must ask ourselves why longevity of our lives should not worth supporting by any well-meaning donor.

We hold the view that Zambians should always be wary of some misleading Western theoretical analyses which argue that high population growth creates pressures on limited natural resources, reduces private and public capital formation, and diverts additions to capital resources to maintaining rather than increasing the stock of capital per worker. If this argument has substance, we must ask ourselves why the top most populous countries in the world are the richest too.

To make sense of our argument, lets scan what will be of the populous nations in next few decades, as discussed below. While we acknowledge that there could no single driver of any nation’s future; and that there could be very different drivers pushing the economies of those countries forward or indeed interacting with each other in some unanticipated ways, no doubt about it, we believe high population is one of the most powerful drivers of any nation’s prosperity.

Here in Africa, for example, we must ask ourselves why Nigeria, the most populous country, is richest on the continent. And we must ask ourselves why Nigeria, as a country which is projected to be the fourth most populace nation on earth in 2050, its economy is set to be almost the same as France and Saudi Arabia. We must ask ourselves why by 2050, Nigeria’s economy is projected to be bigger than economies of South Korea, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Argentina, Poland and several other rich nations.

As will be noted below from the global economy/population forecast for 2050, Nigeria, which is projected to be the third most populous nation in the world, will enter the Top 20 richest nations in the world at number 14 as follows:

1. China — $58.499 trillion — 1.366 billion people
2. India — $44.128 trillion — 1.661 billion people
3. United States — $34.102 trillion — 0.398 billion people
4. Indonesia — $10.502 trillion — 0.366 billion people
5. Brazil — $7.540 trillion — 0.226 billion
6. Russia — $7.131 trillion — 0.l74 billion
7. Mexico — $6.863 trillion — 0.157 billion
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14. Nigeria — $4.348 trillion — 0.397 billion

From above empirical evidence, clearly there is need for more intensive research on the impact of early child marriages on Zambia, currently and in the past. Otherwise, we are shooting in the dark or rather shooting ourselves in the foot because from the economic point of view, one driver is certain: the most populous nations have rapidly advanced as consumers. The wealth created by these countries’ growth has created a substantial middle class. Putting a precise number on the size of this segment of the population remains tricky, but however large it is, the current middle class of any one of the most populous nations is a mere fraction of what it will become as hundreds of millions more people join its ranks during the next decades into 2050. This growth trajectory represents a powerful opportunity to help develop the retail sector of any nation and thereby the prosperity of its people.

On the basis of the foregoing premise, we the Greens posit a different approach to sexuality. We plan to put in place policy interventions which will produce quantum leaps in population growth. If need be, we plan providing enthralling incentives to parents who produce more and more children so that Zambia grows it population ten to twenty fold by 2050. The evidence of population growth as a means to confront head-on the daunting long-term challenge of poverty reduction in the world is compelling.

Peter Sinkamba
President
The Green Party

17 COMMENTS

  1. +3
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    Please dont mind that Lazy Bum Edgar… he was at the UN speaking against marriages under 21 yet the dumb fooool was in Swaziland the weekend before officiating at the parade of 17 year old half naked girls for King to choose.
    I dont he knew what he was reading ..the lazy sausage wanted to go there merely to see the big Apple.

    • 0
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      LT I petition you to delete the above insults. Failure to do so will mean you support insults like zwd.

    • 0
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      @Jay Jay why can`t you just debate like the way we normal ones do without using insults and character assassination? Grow a pair and sober up. You need a dose of maturity and sobriety.

    • +1
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      He didn’t know or understood what he was reading and trust if anybody had bothered to ask him about what he had just said, he was not going to remember anything about what he had just read.

  2. vote

    What measure of richness is Mr. Sinkamba using? Is Nigeria Africa’s richest country because it has the highest GDP? How does its GDP Per Capita compare with Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius, or the Seychelles?

  3. +2
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    Mr Sinkamba , I agree wit you we have more real issues, Reducing child marriage definitely is not the one deserving of a UN general assembly microphone. but I`m sure you were pulling on your greens when you suggested that you will provide intervention that will produce quantums leaps in the population and enthralling incentives to parents who produce mor children to grow the popultion ten to twenty folds by 2050.Rather you would have encouraged the creation of state of the heart education system among other important factors rather than population proliferation. what is good about having a huge population which will only end up overburdening other countries like the Indians , Chinese and Nigerians have done? Don’t you want to spite on an Indian when you imagine the living…

  4. +1
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    … conditions of the Indian In Dharavi, Mumbai? Does the crime rate and in human treatment of people in these nations give you a picture of the kind of life style you would wish for a Zambian? Next time you visit these countries please try visit their slums, but be extra careful you may not get out of there with all your body parts intact

  5. +2
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    I think the green party has taken it in a very wrong way. Most Zambians complete school at the age of 21, this is what the government is looking at. How can you develop when majority people, especially women, are illiterate? ….am left wondering how the whole lot of Sinkamba could spend the whole day writing irrelevant without understanding the logic behind

    • +1
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      The man has provided empirical evidence where the Zambian woman is concerned. The woman in this country is doing better than the man. There are more serious issues that Mr Lungu would have taken to that high level meeting, but certainly not child marriages.

  6. +3
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    Ganja man Peter Sinkamba does not seem to have read about complications in pregnancy that young mothers can face which can lead to death or obstetrics fistula that can put young mothers out of school and have a bearing on their future. The ignorant ganja man needs to inform himself about this. Otherwise, he comes across as being flippant over an issue that is of great concern to the development of this country.

  7. +3
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    Traveling all the way to America at a huge cost to discuss early marriages in Zambia.
    Am sure their are more important issues to discuss, such as improving health care, and living standards, curbing political violence, etc.

  8. +3
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    Let us not erase our past and cultures as africans just because we are putting on a suit and tie from Italy and a shoe from China, holding a cup of coffee. As africans we have been marrying at an early age and we were fine what has changed now???
    Would you rather let school going children take contraceptive pills for breakfast or condoms distributed at lunch break.

  9. +3
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    Western culture has done more harm than good to our societies, there tv’s have brain washed our thinking, changed the minds of juveniles into thinking s*x outside marriage is a lifestyle that drinking is okay.
    unfortunately our leaders have also been brainwashed. ultimately the west need Africa more than we need them and they will always strive to appear important. which african country benefits from trade with the west, none. so fellow Zambians don’t be gullible.

  10. +2
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    what we should strive for as a nation is the restoration of morals, respect, love and honest hard work.
    Ask yourself how many defilement cases were being recorded 30 or 40 years ago compared to now?
    why is the life span decreasing now when we more educated with the knowledge of diet and so forth?
    why isn’t the economy worse off now than 30 40 years ago?
    the simple reason is because we want to import a culture that is dangerous and which we do not understand.

  11. vote

    This Sinkamba is deafitist and a pessimist. We know that most families are marrying off their children due to poverty. But this is one of the reasons we are poor : too many children being born in children marriages. We can’t afford our arms and say we’re poor so let it be that way without fighting it. This is warped thinking. We’ve got to fight it. Some of came from very poor families but we soldiered on until we made. ..I remember eating chalk at lunch time just to put hunger off my mind as I watched my friends eating pies and other packed lunches. But I persevered.

  12. vote

    The author is ill informed on the implications of early marriages with regard to prevention of needless maternal deaths that affect an under developed pelvis and uterus.

  13. vote

    He makes good point. I beg to differ on the issue of choosing priorities for the president though. the zambian people by way of voting picked him to make priorities. however debating the essense of the priorities is fine and in that dabate I have to agree with Bo Sinkamba. we are too few. We need a stratagy that will encourage exponential population growth and at the same time try and grow education , sports and science

Comments are closed.