ZCEA on Exploitation of Children in Campaigns

Judith Mulenga
Judith Mulenga

Publicising videos of children singing praises of presidential candidates is not child participation but pure exploitation of children through manipulation and mere tokenism of the children’s rights to be heard in matters that concern them. Contrary to some Patriotic Front self-styled think tanks who claim that the girl child singing asking God to guide and bless President Lungu, in a video that has purportedly gone viral, is exercising her right to be heard as provided for in articles 12 to 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention provides for respect for the child’s views giving due weight to the child’s age and maturity. This principle in the child rights framework requires that before adults in children’s lives and government officials make any decision that effect children, the children ought to be given an opportunity to give their opinion on the issue and their views be taken into consideration as the final decision is made.

Provisions 12 to 15 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child quoted as supporting the child’s right to sing praises to God beseeching the Almighty God to bless President Chagwa Lungu are a mischievous spin or total ignorance of their normative content. At the pain of sounding didactic the cited provisions obligates the government in imperative terms to (article 12) provide the child the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child; (article 13) provides the child the right to freedom of expression which include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice; (article 14) the government to respect the child’s rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and (article 15) the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly. These are the same freedoms that are guaranteed to all of us human beings but the difference with the children is that children’s agency evolves with age and maturity therefore for someone to claim that the child was exercising her civil rights and freedoms, agency has to be proved. For example, did the child compose and sing the song on her own? Who took the video? Who uploaded the video? If not the child, then the child was exploited by the adults who participated in these machinations.

Child participation is about talking, listening to, encouraging and supporting children to contribute, and following up on their thoughts and ideas but at the same time being open, honest and realistic with them on the degree of involvement they can have.

Exploiting children to appeal to voters’ emotions is not original nor creative. It has been done several times with the most common form kissing babies or the gross PF acts in past Chilanga by election of campaigners bathing children exploiting their parents’ poverty of not having indoor bathrooms that would accord the children their right to privacy that the PF Cadre that eulogized the girl child’s video deliberately left out. We want to remind all cadres and politicians that children’s rights are interdependent, interrelated and indivisible. The children’s rights cannot be cherry picked.

It is incredulous that a government that has continuously failed the girl child in Zambia as empirically established by the African Child Policy Forum’s 2020 Girl-Friendliness Index with Zambia scoring very low being placed among the less girl friendly countries in Africa. From the findings of the Index the Zambian girl has been failed by the PF government in reducing hunger with malnutrition high among 31% of under five girls stunted. Additionally, one in every four girls aged 12 to 24 months not having received basic vaccinations. Public social protection expenditure at a miserly 0.7% of the Domestic Gross Product the lowest in Africa and low birth registration. The report also cites high child marriage at 29% of girls married before their 18th birthday and teenage pregnancies abound. With all these government failures robbing Zambian girls of their future, why would the child sing to God to bless the incumbent President of Zambia?

Judith Mulenga

Zambia Civic Education Association

Executive Director


  1. Government laws do not forbid, hinder or deter parents from bringing infants for under five clinic treatment. Quite the contrary, government laws offer under five care and treatment at little or no cost. Besides government under five services, private under five facilities are also open for consultation. Admittedly, the developing world faces various challenges in healthcare provision, including cultural interference. Some parents shun vaccines because of reported cases of allergic reactions. The situation remains bad but it is getting better by the day. Take time to blame government. Take time to blame PF. Take time to change society.

  2. Chinkonko mwikate alalila oweeee!

    There is nothing wrong with a child singing that song. It’s cultural for children to sing whatever the elder are singing.

    That song cannot in anyway be categorised like it’s a systematic use of minors by PF in campaigns. This observation is biased. Anyway we know why the song sounds bitter to the author. We know.

    I am sure she thinks even Yo Maps in Chombo cha Noal is a minor. Sorrriiiii

  3. Everything from PF is wrong.
    Political parties have always been using performing artistes to provide rhythm and dance on public rallies and elsewhere.
    This time UPND has condemned PF.
    Kalabdanya Music Promotion has their performing artist banned from appearing on Komboni Radio, because they sang for PF.
    The same girls that welcome Zambian presidents since UNIP era on every arrival are today prohibited by UPND to sing for the same presidents.
    All these girls are groomed and nurtured to sing, act, speak, smile and behave like politicians. Charity begins at home.
    How old are these girls allowed to be in politics, if our contention is age?

  4. This Mulenga woman is just useless in her political bias. Some issues you are better not commenting on mama.

  5. He hehehe…. This is pure desperation. Amai aba bazafunta. Surely a singing kid is a problem… Koma che ngati asapota HH. What’s worse is the cadres agreeing to this nonsense. Am sure this is one of the items on the election petition. Nonsense

  6. Do they have evidence that PF coached and mentored the child to sing for them?. Yet it is okay to parade child with NRC and claim they were issued by Govt. Yet it is okay for child to show party symbols of opposition groups. Yet it is okay for musicians to sing for the opposite party.

  7. @The voice of reason

    Mackyll, Mampi and YoMaps are vilified to have sung for PF

    Knack Unity boys in the eyes of UPND are the best suited artistes.
    This is prejudiced thinking. This opposition is too opposed to embrace anything unless they are benefiting. That’s why they have hired Judith Mulenga to paint PF blacker than black paint. They would rather have the girl sing for UPND than PF.

  8. Judith Mulenga, if you cared about the children you should have openly and visibly told UNPD to denounce violence, further, you should have said no convid-19 spreader gatherings.

  9. Judith Mulenga, if you cared about the children you should have openly and visibly told UNPD to denounce violence, further, you should have said no convid-19 spreader gatherings. ….

  10. Why her words are same as Hichilema’s? It is funny how she links the singing as violating the right of children. ??

  11. I think it’s PF call, how to make their campaign video, everyone has got this much freedom in this democratic country. It is what general people think of our President and not UPND or its supporters

  12. She doesn’t know what does exploitation means! Just by using heavy words no one can attack the President, there must be some evidence to hold the matter strong. She is making fun of herself here!

  13. She doesn’t know what does exploitation means! Just by using heavy words no one can attack the President, there must be some evidence to hold the matter strong. She is making fun of herself here!

  14. Except for Hichilema’s supporters, no one found any fault in the video. And we all know that his supporters have the habit of dancing to his tune like a puppet.

  15. If this is the case then no children should allow getting expose in front of a camera. Cancel all the talent shows, movies, etc. Make one rule for all, why she is showing double standards here?

  16. If she is so confident in her speaking skills, then why she is not filing a case against PF in the ConCourt instead of giving interviews? She just wants public attention and nothing else.

  17. When the criminal record of HH was exposed in public, such people were silent! When UPND cadres beating police, citizens, they were silent. And now when PF released a promotional video which is completely harmless, suddenly fools started shouting that it violating children’s right?? Give me a break!

  18. Ok! So, this debate will be on for few days, as the UPND team needs content to run in the election elections. BTW, thank you so much for promoting PF and increasing the views of the video.

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