Thursday, July 25, 2024

Harrowing tale of Street Kid gang-raped by thugs!

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Since Sundays are sacred days, we shall try to refrain from political topics and take time to interrogate real issues affecting mankind as a way of raising awareness; hoping that in one way or another, someone sitting in one of the government offices will be prompted to act.

Therefore today, we venture into the streets of Kitwe and delve into an issue which is closer to our hearts – Street Kids!

Markus, not his real name, was sent on an errand to supply genkem, glue if you like, to his peers on the streets. This 12 year old chap is quite talented……he can easily convince an Arab to buy sand. While the others were still struggling to find peers to partake of the the highly potent substance they carried around in bottles; by midday, all the contents in his 750ml bottle were gone!

As he made his way back from the sprawling Chisokone market to the inner city of Kitwe to report back to his ‘boss,’ the sweet smelling aroma wafting from one of the restaurants immediately caught his attention as the pangs of hunger in his stomach turned and twisted. Then he remembered he hadn’t taken a decent meal in days.

As he followed his legs to the restaurant, he fished-out a Bank note from one of his pockets before ba maza (woman) could slam the door into his face and badged in!

He ordered his favourite dish – nshima with roast chicken! He devoured his food with gusto and zeal of one vying for a place in the Guinness book of world records.

“Would you like to order a drink as well sonny?” maza, coaxed the little one.

Why not? A chilled coke would definitely do! He was done in record time! Completely satiated, he resumed his walk. Then something suddenly clicked in his mind……he remembered that had he just embezzled someone’s daily cashing!

He started moving around market haphazardly as he tried to figure-out a good excuse.

Word somehow got to him that there was currently a joint operation being conducted to round-up all the street kids by the Department of Social Welfare in conjunction with Kitwe City Council to take them to a safe home. Say what! His nimble feet were soon scurrying around the city to find out where his friends were being held.

That evening Markus slept like a baby in a proper bed. The Mufulira Children’s Home would be his dwelling place for the next couple of weeks until he started hearing strange voices in his small head…..why did they bring you here? You can’t enjoy your freedom anymore! They can’t even allow you to sniff glue! His head was exploding.

One day, he decided to confide in two of his friends.

“So you’ve been experiencing the same,” the older kid blurted out, “I thought I was the only one….”

“Why can’t we just run away from this place!” The younger one exclaimed.

That night, they retired to bed with their shoes on. As the rooster crowed for the third consecutive time from a distance, as it normally did around that time, to announce the arrival of a new day, they woke each other up and crept out of the dorm.

Their long trek back to Kitwe was about to begin. Yeah! After scaling the perimeter wall fence, they used the footpaths in the township to avoid being detected until they came to the main road. Whenever they saw oncoming vehicles, they’d take cover in the bush or duck in the drainages.

Once they were safely away from Mufulira as the day was wearing-off, they started hitchhiking. At some point, a truck came their way and slowly stopped.

“Where’re you kids going?” the driver asked them, incredulously, “You’re running away from home….what’ve you stolen?”

Markus narrated that their step-mother back home kept denying them food.

“We’re on our way to Kitwe to find our relatives,” He rubbed his eyes and wiped away tears for effect.

Unless otherwise, anyone would fall for such a ruse, of course. The driver dropped them in Kitwe and proceeded with his onward journey.

Word has a way of fast getting around on the streets. In no time, the ‘boss’ caught wind of the presence of Markus in the city and immediately launched a manhunt.

One night, the ‘boss’ and his gang waylaid Markus in a drainage where he was sleeping. They pinned him to the ground and took turns sodomizing him!

His friends picked him up the following day, his pants caked with blood and took him to Kitwe Central Hospital. The boy was badly injured that he may now require specialist treatment if he’s to fully recuperate.

When the UPND just formed government; those of us that work with Street Kids were hopeful that for a change, there we’d be some tangible traction in addressing this problem. We were further elated when government acquiesced to our petition to call for a National Indaba on Street Kids following our marathon walk. A number of resolutions were made at he symposium; what has happened to those proposals? The document is probably lying in one of the offices gathering multiple layers of dust!

Street Kids are obviously fast ‘graduating’ into so-called junkies that are busy wreaking havoc and terrorising our communities – stealing from our people and brutalizing them! It’s just a matter of time before this problem escalates to unimaginable magnitudes where you now have to bring in the army to quell the situation as is being witnessed in Brazil.

Talk about the problem of glue on the streets; we carried-out undercover investigations within the city and presented our findings to Zambia Police and the Drug Enforcement Commission, and yet the problem continues unabated. Why do we have to wait for a problem to turn into a disaster before we act?

Perhaps we’ve to leave to God to save the Street Kids!

Prince Bill M Kaping’a
Polical/Social Analyst

2 COMMENTS

  1. This problem started under Chiluba and remained ignored ever since, during KK’s time children were not allowed to be on the street and immediately sent to Kambilombilo resettlement camps. Chiluba and MMD brought this misfortune onto us.

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  2. The most effective solutions come from collaboration between NGOs, government agencies, and community organizations. Birth control is solution if people can’t take care of their responsibilities. Focus on development and improve living standard’s. Send them to train and help with peace keeping missions around Afrika. That should keep them busy

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