Girl-child prostitution – a disturbing trend (II)
KUNGWENGWE STAR CHARLES
In the previous epistle this writer explored the following issues as causing the above problem: girl-child trafficking, globalizationcapitalismAmericanizationwesternization, disintegration of the extended family system network, poverty, peer influence, the law itself, child headed families and abuse of the girl-child by men. We now pick the discussion from there.
In this period, and as indicated in the previous article, some sexually-greedy jelly daddies are further fueling problems as they purport to marry the girl just to boost their ego and then ditch her in no time in search of more fresh children .And with no jobs in sight to mitigate her ordeal, the only logical escape route, to her, is prostitution!. Young prostitutes are a favorite hunting ground for old people as that tends to inflate their ego—the latter would feel young.
Old men tend to dog the girls, whose semi nakedness appears to be beckoning all men, to a point where nothing short of the riot police armed to teeth with button-sticks, tear-gas and fierce bull-dogs could stop long and meandering queues of males as they python their way all the way to the girls’ places of residence. For the avoidance of over-repetition, this writer will not reiterate the fact that sugar-daddies and mummies mainly came into being as a direct result of the death of the extended families.
Various forms of abuse of women by men, on their own: physical, emotional, mental, etc, usually result in the girl child developing lack of trust or having a negative interest towards serious relationships with men and the end result is prostitution. This abuse expresses itself in various forms. We have already encountered rape elsewhere in this piece of work but there are many other examples as well. In the past sex was regarded a sacred act that could only be enjoyed within the confines of the bedroom and by spouses while one’s private anatomy was treasured.
Such values have, partly due to Western influence, been trivialized in recent years and one can just render her private treasure to anyone and joining prostitution, against that background, would not come as a surprise. These are suicidal tendencies indeed. Lose of trust in men is even worse among girls who have been cheateddisappointed in serious relationships and then develop irreparable scars of emotional damage
Linked to the above problem is parent-child neglect, lack of parental guidance during the formative years of the child’s personality and or parental abuse. When parents have withdrawn affection from the child, and worse still, not sending her to school, due to gender related problems, the latter may seek solace in promiscuous relationships, and then prostitution if jobs do not come by. After all, just being loved, on its own, and having a sense of belonging occupy a very strategic position on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the girl-child is no exception.
This is a classic example of emotional abuse.
The problem of domestic violence also worsens the situation AND WE ARE FULLY AWARE OF THE SATANIC NATURE OF STEP MOTHERS!. When parents are always fighting in full view of their children, the latter, particularly the girl-child, tend to lose interest in a married life and this disinterest could lead them to the bar
Most parents rent houses but due to poverty they cannot afford rooms which are (many) enough to accommodate their usually many children. Against that background ,it is not uncommon to come across parents sharing the same bedroom with their children and these observant youngsters ,as we have said before, would want to experiment what they see happening at night ,that is, the sheets politics.
In most cases one room serves as the kitchen ,bedroom and dining room ,all rolled into one .Some promiscuous parents, and prostitutes alike ,even have the guts to make love in full view of these youngsters and what will be the possible result?—child sexual adventurism, something that could lead them to the pub. Hardly surprising ,then, that most children of prostitutes also graduate into prostitutes at a very tender age.
Still on that note, some of their extremely immoral clients have an uncanny propensity of clandestinely and Necodemously making love to both the mother and the child
How about genetics or the case of a chip of the old block? Could it be scientifically proven that one can inherit genes of criminality or deviance from one’s fore-bearers? .What does the voice of psychology and Criminology say? Or is this behavior sociologically determined? —-The nature –nurture controversy, it seems!. Sociological factors revolve around the environment one finds herself in.
For example, prostitution is very rife in these days of economic hardships and children learn by imitating what they see. By the same token, I need to repeat, chances are that a child of a prostitute would also herself become one and that family may end up in a perpetual web of this evil. As we have already seen, poverty can easily mislead one .This comment also holds true for children of child prostitutes who have been forced to join this profession by desperation.
It is incorrect to say money is the root of all evils but appropriate to blame the lack of money. The Reformative Rehabilitative Theory of Punishment is premised on the idea that every person is a potential criminal depending upon circumstances confronting one. Which is why this theory tends to sympathize with criminals who are portrayed as victims-not of the web of their own making, but of harsh circumstances confronting them.
Could we also rightly put blame on evil spiritsmamhepo on the part of children of the rich who choose to become whores?. How about the genetically modified food which we eat today which can ,for example ,increase her sexual appetite(kkk) or portray a 10 year old girl like a fully grown up lady?. Is this not a contributory factor?. Let us allow our imagination to wonder.
The law enforcement agents, most of whom are males and hence potential perpetrators, tend to handle the like-minded with kid gloves. Though the Criminal laws of most countries is silent about this development plans are currently underway to align this piece of legislation with their Constitutions by elevating the girl‘s consenting age to 18, the legal age of majority (see section 78:1 of the Zimbabwean Constitution). This is heart-warming news indeed!. But we can only put permanent smiles on our faces when our Criminal Laws have been amended accordingly.
According to the Principle of Legality where there is no legal provision there is no crime (the ius acceptum rule) though certain conduct may be highly immoral. Unlike the Botswana Criminal Law that has totally parted ways with the Roman-Dutch Common Law (section 3:1), its Zimbabwean counterpart still retains that link and section 3:1 -2 of the Criminal Reform and Codification Act Cap 9:23 reads:
‘Roman-Dutch Criminal Law no longer applies to the extent that this code expressly or impliedly enacts ,reenacts, amends, modifies or repeals that law.’ It further states that there is nothing that would stop the court, when interpreting this code, from obtaining guidance from judicial decisions and legal writings on relevant aspects of this Roman –Dutch Law or the legal systems of other countries”
Lest we forget ,it must be mentioned that girl-child marriages frequently lead them to the streets ,especially if that marriage came into being through deviant means or was forcibly initiated eg as payment to appease the avenging spirits or as a form of atonement to the raped girl. Not only that ,usually upon the attainment of majority age, the child may run away from her husband after having realized that she was taken advantage of. If survival skills are not available the girl may join the above vice. The most logical conclusion that could be drawn is that the divorce of the young girl may lead to prostitution. Remember the issue of dependent and independent variables
Other factors include drug abuse which has the potential of clouding one’s sense of judgment to a point where one can easily become a humble slave to her own conscience or objectivity. Consider ,for example ,how the biblical Noah ,who after having had one ,too many ,striped himself nude naked and unashamed in full view of his own children(Genesis 9:20-27).Likewise , Lot, another biblical character, had the guts to not only share the forbidden fruit with have carnal knowledge of his own blood daughters but even procreated children with them while in a drunken stupor(Genesis 19:31-38).
The concluding remark is that the environment, more than heredity, plays a crucial role in cases of girl-child prostitution and this problem needs to be addressed urgently before it condemns all girls to virtual extinction. Apart from sexual exploitation ,in say, receiving Mickey mouse payment for the services she rendered or not getting any payment at all ,the girl-child risks getting beaten up, maimed or even killed in this risky dog-eat-dog occupation by either clients or other competitors ,who are older, given her competitive advantage.
Other risks include contracting STDs, HIVAIDS, becoming sterile, impotent, death due to premature pregnancies, being stigmatized and ostracized by members of the mainstream society et cetra. Some people become prostitutes because they are shunned and or ostracized by society while others are stigmatized and ostracized because they are prostitutes. The reader must have noted that the discussed causes are dovetailed and should not be treated as watertight compartments.
For example, poverty could lead to the death of the extended families as they are expensive to sustain and, in a similar manner, the death of such family networks enhances more poverty on the part of those who derive their livelihood out of them. Furthermore, Westernization is blamed for having caused this breakdown of such structures. Again, poverty often leads to drug abuse and then prostitution. What then is the way forward?. Buy a copy of this paper next week and evaluate the suggested solutions to this problem.
You may like
The case for Botswana to ratify the ACDEG
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) is the most comprehensive dataset measuring African governance performance through a wide range of 81 indicators under the categories of Security & Rule of law, Participation, Rights & Inclusion, Foundations of Economic Opportunity, and Human Development. It employs scores, expressed out of 100, which quantify a countryâ€™s performance for each governance measure and ranks, out of 54, in relation to the 54 African countries.
The 2022 IIAG Overall Governance score is 68.1 and ranks Botswana at number 5 in Africa. In 2019 Botswana was ranked 2nd with an overall score of 73.3. That is a sharp decline. The best-performing countries are Mauritius, Seychelles, Tunisia, and Cabo Verde, in that order. A glance at the categories shows that Botswana is in third place in Africa on the Security and Rule of law; ninth in the Participation, Rights & Inclusion Category â€“ indicating a shrinking participatory environment; eighth for Foundations of Economic Opportunity category; and fifth in the Human Development category.
The 2022 IIAG comes to a sweeping conclusion: Governments are less accountable and transparent in 2021 than at any time over the last ten years; Higher GDP does not necessarily indicate better governance; rule of law has weakened in the last five years; Democratic backsliding in Africa has accelerated since 2018; Major restrictions on freedom of association and assembly since 2012. Botswana is no exception to these conclusions. In fact, a look at the 10-year trend shows a major challenge. While Botswana remains in the top 5 of the best-performing countries in Africa, there are signs of decline, especially in the categories of Human Development and Security & Rule of law.
I start with this picture to show that Botswana is no longer the poster child for democracy, good governance, and commitment to the rule of law that it once was. In fact, to use the term used in the IIAG, Botswana is experiencing a â€śdemocratic backsliding.â€ť
The 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) had Botswana at 55/ 100, the lowest ever score recorded by Botswana dethroning Botswana as Africaâ€™s least corrupt country to a distant third place, where it was in 2019 with a CPI of 61/100. (A score closer to zero denotes the worst corrupt and a score closer to 100 indicates the least corrupt country). The concern here is that while other African states are advancing in their transparency and accountability indexes, Botswana is backsliding.
The Transitional National Development Plan lists participatory democracy, the rule of law, transparency, and accountability, as key â€śdeliverables,â€ť if you may call those deliverables. If indeed Botswana is committed to these principles, she must ratify the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
The African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance is the African Union’s principal policy document for advancing democratic governance in African Union member states. The ACDEG embodies the continentâ€™s commitment to a democratic agenda and set the standards upon which countries agreed to be held accountable. The Charter was adopted in 2007 and came into force a decade ago, in 2012.
Article 2 of the Charter details its objectives among others as to a) Promote adherence, by each State Party, to the universal values and principles of democracy and respect for human rights; b) Promote and protect the independence of the judiciary; c) Promote the establishment of the necessary conditions to foster citizen participation, transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in the management of public affairs; d) Promote gender balance and equality in the governance and development processes.
The Charter emphasizes certain principles through which member states must uphold: Citizen Participation, Accountable Institutions, Respect for Human Rights, Adherence to the principles of the Rule of Law, Respect for the supremacy of the constitution and constitutional order, Entrenchment of democratic Principles, Separation of Powers, Respect for the Judiciary, Independence and impartiality of electoral bodies, best practice in the management of elections. These are among the top issues that Batswana have been calling for, that they be entrenched in the new Constitution.
The ACDEG is a revolutionary document. Article 3 of the ACDEG, sets guidance on the principles that must guide the implementation of the Charter among them: Effective participation of citizens in democratic and development processes and in the governance of public affairs; Promotion of a system of government that is representative; Holding of regular, transparent, free and fair elections; Separation of powers; Promotion of gender equality in public and private institutions and others.
Batswana have been calling for laws that make it mandatory for citizen participation in public affairs, more so, such calls have been amplified in the just-ended â€śconsultative processâ€ť into the review of the Constitution of Botswana. Many scholars, academics, and Batswana, in general, have consistently made calls for a constitution that provides for clear separation of powers to prevent concentration of power in one branch, in Botswanaâ€™s case, the Executive, and provide for effective checks and balances. Other countries, like Kenya, have laws that promote gender equality in public and private institutions inscribed in their constitutions. The ACDEG could be a useful advocacy tool for the promotion of gender equality.
Perhaps more relevant to Botswanaâ€™s situation now is Article 10 of the Charter. Given how the constitutional review process unfolded, the numerous procedural mistakes and omissions, the lack of genuine consultations, the Charter principles could have provided a direction, if Botswana was party to the Charter. â€śState Parties shall ensure that the process of amendment or revision of their constitution reposes on national consensus, obtained, if need be, through referendum,â€ť reads part of Article 10, giving clear clarity, that the Constitution belong to the people.
With the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance in hand, ratified, and also given the many shortfalls in the current constitution, Batswana can have a tool in hand, not only to hold the government accountable but also a tool for measuring aspirations and shortfalls of our governance institutional framework.
Botswana has not signed, nor has it acceded or ratified the ACDEG. The time to ratify the ACDEG is now. Our Movement, Motheo O Mosha Society, with support from the Democracy Works Foundation and The Charter Project Africa, will run a campaign to promote, popularise and advocate for the ratification of the Charter (#RatifytheCharter Campaign). The initiative is co-founded by the European Union. The Campaign is implemented with the support of our sister organizations: Global Shapers Community â€“ Gaborone Hub, #FamilyMeetingBW, Botswana Center for Public Integrity, Black Roots Organization, Economic Development Forum, Molao-Matters, WoTech Foundation, University of Botswana Political Science Society, Young Minds Africa and Branding Akosua.
Ratifying the Charter would reaffirm Botswanaâ€™s commitment to upholding strong democratic values, and respect for constitutionalism, and promote the rule of law and political accountability. Join us in calling the Government of Botswana to #RatifyTheCharter.
*Morena MONGANJA is the Chairperson of Motheo O Mosha society; a grassroots movement advocating for a new Constitution for Botswana. Contact: email@example.com or WhatsApp 77 469 362.
The Taiwan Question: China ramps up military exercises to rebuff US provocations
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has violated the One-China policy, and caused the escalation of tensions across the Taiwan Strait. Experts and political observers across the spectra agree that Pelosi’s actions and subsequent pronouncements by US President Joe Biden gave impetus to an already simmering tension in the Taiwan Strait, provoking China to strengthen its legitimate hold on the Taiwan Strait waters, which the US and Taiwan deem as ‘international waters’.
Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan region has been heavily criticised across the globe, with China arguing that this is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US Joint Communiqués. In response to this reckless move which seriously undermined China’s sovereignty, and interfered in China’s internal affairs, the expectation is for China to give a firm response. Pelosi visit violated the commitments made by the U.S. side, and seriously jeopardized peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
To give context to China’s position over Taiwan region, the history behind gives us perspective. It is also important to note that the history between China and Taiwan is well documented and the US has always recognized it.
The People’s Republic of China recognises Taiwan as its territory. It has always been the case even before the Nationalist Republic of China government fled to the previously Japanese-ruled Island after losing the civil war on the mainland in 1949. According to literature that threat was contained for decades — first with a military alliance between the US and the ROC on Taiwan, and after Washington switched diplomatic recognition to the PRC in 1979 by the US One China policy, which acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of One China. Effectively, Taiwan’s administration was transferred to the Republic of China from Japan after the Second World War in 1945, along with the split between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC) as a consequence of the Chinese Civil War. Disregarding this history, as the US is attempting to do, will surely initiate some defence reaction on the side of China to affirm its sovereignty.
However, this history was undermined since Taiwan claimed to democratise in the 1990s and China has grown ever more belligerent. Furthermore, it is well documented that the Biden administration, following the Trump presidency, has made subtle changes in the way it deals with Taipei, such as loosening restrictions on US officials meeting Taiwanese officials – this should make China uneasy. And while the White House continues to say it does not support Taiwanese independence, Biden’s words and actions are parallel to this pledge because he has warned China that the US would intervene militarily if China attacked Taiwan – another statement that has provoked China.
Pelosi, in her private space, would know that her actions amount to provocation of China. This act of aggression by the USA seriously undermines the virtues of sovereignty and territorial integrity which has a huge potential to destabilize not only the Taiwan Strait but the whole of the Asia- Pacific region. The Americans know very well that their provocative behavior is deliberately invoking the spirit of separatism masqueraded as “Taiwan independence”. The US is misled to think that by supporting separatism of Taiwan from China that would give them an edge over China in a geopolitics. This is what one Chinese diplomat said this week: “The critical point is if every country put their One-China policy into practice with sincerity, with no compromise, is going to guarantee the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” Therefore, it was in the wake of US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, that China, in a natural response revealed plans for unprecedented military exercises near the island, prompting fears of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and the entire Asia-Pacific region. The world community must promote and foster peace, this may be achieved when international laws are respected. It may also happen when nations respect the sovereignty of another. China may be in a better space because it is well capacitated to stake its territorial integrity, what about a small nation, if this happens to it?
As to why military exercises by Beijing; it is an expected response because China was provoked by the actions of Pelosi. To fortify this position, Chinese President, Xi signed a legal basis for China’s People’s Liberation Army to “safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests”. The legal basis will also allow military missions around disaster relief, humanitarian aid and peacekeeping. In addition the legal changes would allow troops to “prevent spillover effects of regional instabilities from affecting China, secure vital transport routes for strategic materials like oil, or safeguard China’s overseas investments, projects and personnel. It then follows that President Xi’s administration cannot afford to look weak under a US provocation. President Xi must protector China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, of which Taiwan is a central part.” Beijing is very clear on One-China Policy, and expects all world players to recognize and respect it.
The People’s Liberation Army has made it clear that it has firepower that covers all of Taiwan, and it can strike wherever it wants. This sentiments have been attributed to Zhang Junshe, a researcher at the PLA Navy Research Institute. Zheng further said, “We got really close to Taiwan. We encircled Taiwan. And we demonstrated that we can effectively stop intervention by foreign forces.” This is a strong reaction from China to warn the US against provocation and violation of the One-China Policy.
Beijing’s military exercises will certainly shake Taiwan’s confidence in the sources of its economic and political survival. The potential for an effective blockade threatens the air and shipping routes that support Taiwan’s central role in global technology supply chains. Should a humanitarian situation arise in Taiwan, the blame would squarely be on the US.
As China’s military exercises along the Taiwan Strait progress and grow, it remains that the decision by Nancy Pelosi to visit China’s Taiwan region gravely undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sent a wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. This then speaks to international conventions, as the UN Secretary-General António Guterres explicitly stressed that the UN remains committed to the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. The centerpiece is the one-China principle, namely, there is but one China in the world, the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is a part of China. It must be noted that the US and the US-led NATO countries have selectively applied international law, this has been going on unabated. There is a plethora of actions that have collapsed several states after they were attacked under the pretext of the so-called possession of weapons of mass destruction illuminating them as threats – and sometimes even without any valid reason. to blatantly launch military strikes and even unleash wars on sovereign countrie
Internal party-democracy under pressure
British novelist, W. Somerset Maugham once opined: “If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.”
The truism in these words cannot be underestimated, especially when contextualizing against the political developments in Botswana. We have become a nation that does not value democracy, yet nothing represent freedom more than democracy. In fact, we desire, and value winning power or clinging to power more than anything else, even if it harms the democratic credentials of our political institutions. This is happening across political parties — ruling and opposition.
As far as democracy is concerned, we are regressing. We are becoming worse-off than we were in the past. If not arrested, Botswana will lose its status as among few democratic nations in the Africa. Ironically, Botswana was the first country in Africa to embrace democracy, and has held elections every five years without fail since independence.
We were once viewed as the shining example of Africa. Those accolades are not worth it any more. Young democracies such as South Africa, with strong institutions, deserves to be exalted. Botswana has lost faith in democracy, and we will pay a price for it. It is a slippery slope to dictatorship, which will bring among other excess, assault on civil liberties and human rights violations.
Former President, Festus Mogae once stated that Botswana’s democracy will only become authentic, when a different party, other than the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) wins elections, and when the President of such party is not from Serowe.
Although many may not publicly care to admit, Mogae’s assertion is true. BDP has over the years projected itself as a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of democracy, but the moment its stay in power became threatened and uncertain, it started behaving in a manner that is at variance with democratic values. This has been happening over the years now, and the situation is getting worse by the day.
Recently, the BDP party leadership has been preaching compromise and consensus candidates for 2024 general elections. Essentially, the leadership has lost faith in the Bulela Ditswe dispensation, which has been used to selected party candidates for council and parliament since 2003. The leadership is discouraging democracy because they believe primary elections threaten party unity. It is a strange assertion indeed.
Bulela Ditswe was an enrichment of internal party democracy in the sense that it replaced the previous method of selection of candidates known as Committee of 18, in which a branch committee made of 18 people endorsed the representatives. While it is true that political contest can divide, the ruling party should be investing in political education and strengthening in its primary elections processes. Democracy does not come cheap or easy, but it is valuable.
Any unity that we desire so much at the expense of democracy is not true unity. Like W. Somerset Maugham said, democracy would be lost in the process, and ultimately, even the unity that was desired would eventually be lost too. Any solution that sacrifice democracy would not bring any results in the long run, except misery.
We have seen that also in opposition ranks. The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) recently indicated that its incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) should not be challenged for their seats. While BDP is sacrificing democracy to stay in power, UDC is sacrificing democracy to win power. It is a scary reality given the fact that both parties – ruling and opposition — have embraced this position and believe democracy is the hindrance to their political ambitions.
These current reality points to one thing; our political parties have lost faith in democracy. They desire power more than, the purpose of power itself. It is also a crisis of leadership across the political divide, where we have seen dissenting views being met with persecution. We have seen perverting of political process endorsed by those in echelons of power to manipulate political outcomes in their favour.
Democracy should not be optional, it should be mandatory. Any leader proposing curtailing of democracy should be viewed with suspicion, and his adventures should be rejected before it is too late. Members of political parties, as subscribers of democracy, should collectively rise to the occasion to save their democracy from self-interest that is becoming prevalent among Botswana political parties.
The so-called compromise candidates, only benefits the leadership because it creates comforts for them. But for members, and for the nation, it is causing damage by reversing the gains that have been made over the years. We should reject leaders who only preach democracy in word, but are hesitant to practice it.