Zimbabwe to host sub-regional World Children’s Day Commemorations
Vincent Gono in Walvis Bay, Namibia
ZIMBABWE is going to host next year’s Unicef Sub-Regional World Children’s Day after receiving the torch from Namibian President Hage Heingob last night.
The torch was received by Vice President Kembo Mohadi who was representing President Mnangagwa at the third Unicef Sub-Regional World Children’s Day here.
In his acceptance speech, President Mnangagwa said it was his pleasure to receive the torch which symbolised the renewal of the pledge by the four sister republics of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“It is my great pleasure to receive this torch which is a symbol of the renewal of our pledge to continue championing children’s rights and to give them hope for a brighter future.
“I want to assure you that my Government and indeed myself personally will be honoured to host the 2024 Sub-Regional World Children’s Day celebrations in Zimbabwe,” he said.
President Mnangagwa reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive, people-centered, and holistic development as espoused in the country’s development mantra of ‘leaving no one and no place behind.’
He said this year’s World Children’s Day theme, “For Every Child, Every Right” was a clarion call for the countries to redouble their efforts towards ensuring that every child, everywhere lives in peace, in a liveable and sustainable environment.
President Mnangagwa said it was also important to ensure that children were given a voice on matters that affect them, have access to clean water and nutritious food as well as get quality education and health services, and all the rights provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
He said history would judge this generation of leaders if they fail in the provision of all the children’s rights.
The event that was held last night in the coastal city of Walvis Bay was a follow-up and continuation of meetings that were held in Kasame at the Kazungula quadripoint in Botswana in 2021 and in Lusaka, Zambia last year to hear out children’s concerns, deliberate on various important strategies and foster solutions to the issues raised by children in the four sister republics.
This year’s celebrations brought together over 200 children from the four countries with thousands of others attending virtually to discuss and share insights on how leaders can create an enabling environment for children to realise their full potential.
The Heads of State took time to respond to the issues and concerns raised by children in their respective countries with education development and universalisation taking centre stage where Vice President Mohadi explained that the country adopted education 5.0 in response to Covid-19’s call for local solutions to local problems.
The event builds on the engagements established in Botswana in 2021 and Zambia in 2022, where a commitment was made to create a Heads of State Network.
The network serves as a platform to discuss issues of mutual concern and develop concrete strategies to address children’s rights in their respective countries and to renew their promise to promote and protect children’s rights.
Zimbabwe due to President Mnangagwa’s commitment to promoting children’s rights, has seen the enactment into law of the Marriages Act, which criminalises any act that promotes, permits, coerces, aids or abets child marriages.
The Act is part of the milestones that seek to solve the headache of child marriages in the country where a third of the country’s young girls are married before the age of 18 years.
Zimbabwe also made young people part of the delegation to last year’s Conference of Parties as part of the growing involvement of children and young people in the climate change debate resulting in child sensitive Nationally Determined Contribution and National Adaptation Plan.
There is also a department in President Mnangagwa’s office for people and children living with disabilities which has been seized with making all learning institutions accessible for all in fulfilment of his leaving no-one and no place behind development philosophy.
President Mnangagwa and his Government have also been at the forefront of speaking against drug and substance abuse mostly by the youths.
The World Children’s Day commemoration was designated on 20 November by Unicef after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November 1989 by the United Nations General Assembly to promote international togetherness, raise awareness among children and improve children’s welfare.
The day unites governments all over the world in celebrating advancements made in achieving child rights, shedding light on critical issues affecting children’s lives and supporting children and young people to be advocates for their rights.