Also seeks to protecting children already in marriage â€¨
The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) adopted the Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children Already in Marriage.
The 39th Plenary Assembly meeting in Swaziland, SADC-PF adopted the first ever model law on child marriage in the region which will require member states to harmonize their national laws to prevent child marriages in support of the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in a Generation
The Plenary Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the SADC-PF, the deliberative forum that brings together National Parliaments from 14 SADC Member States and approximately 3,500 Parliamentarians.
The Model Law will provide guidance to parliamentarians, ministries of justice, policymakers, and other stakeholders in SADC countries as they develop national laws. “The Model Law will address the most common problem of inconsistencies and gaps in the laws which weaken the sanction mechanisms available to law enforcement agencies across the region”, says Roland Angerer, Plan International Regional Director in the Eastern and Southern Africa. The Model Law eliminates several loop holes that make current laws ineffective and unenforceable including parental and judicial consent, and conflicts between customary and statuary laws.
Child marriage affects 70 million girls in the world. The East and Southern Africa alone harbours seven million child brides. The SADC-PF and other partners developed the model law in response to the high prevalence of child marriage in Southern Africa, which is largely driven by high poverty levels, gender inequity, traditions, religion, and limited educational opportunities for girls. “Child marriage mostly affects girls in rural areas, the uneducated or under-educated and those from the poorest households in SADC and other African countries. It is therefore, a glaring evidence of societal failure to provide equal protection, opportunities and services to all adolescents”, noted Ms. Justine Coulson, UNFPA’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
“The involvement of civil society and girls affected by child marriage is critical to ensuring the SADC Model Law helps protect millions of adolescent girls who face child marriage. We are pleased to see that young girls, civil society organisations and advocates will soon have the backing of the law to end a practice which deprives millions of girls of the future they deserve,” added Ms. Heather Hamilton, Interim Executive Director of Girls Not Brides.
SADC PF’s efforts to develop and adopt a Regional Model Law has been supported by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) East and Southern Africa Regional Office, Plan International’s 18+ Ending Child Marriage in Southern Africa Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), the Southern African Litigation Centre and Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.
The process to develop the model law started in 2015 and has involved wide consultations with various stakeholders in SADC Member States at regional level including those affected by child marriage, parliamentarians, civil society organizations, human rights commissions and ministries of justice.
“As partners, we applaud SADC PF for its commitment and fore sight by adopting this best practice Model Law which will protect millions of adolescent girls from the negative consequences of child marriage. We now have to implement, implement and implement”, stated Ms. Nyasha Chingore-Munazvo of the Southern Africa Litigation Center (SALC).
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.