13-year-old Maxwell Simbuwa eyes legal work
By Derrick Sinjela and Ashton Kelly Bunda
Zambian Developmental Media Alliance (ZADEMA) Executive Member and Child Rights Activist MAXWELL Simbuwa is a dedicated budding Child Activist.
Initially, Simbuwa belonged to the Zambian Children and Young People (ZCYPD), a committed Media Network for Child Rights and Development (MNCRD) member and Child Journalist in the Children’s News Network (CNN).
Aside from his active participation in the ZCYPD, Simbuwa, a grandchild to venerated broadcaster, the late Charles Mando, and continues campaigning for Child Rights beyond the Zambian geographical landscape.
As an activist, Simbuwa has through the Media Network for Child Rights and Development and Children’s News Network participated in a number of regional and continental conferences stressing empowerment of children and young people.
Recently, Simbuwa participated in a series of meetings conceived by REPSSI, whose tagline is Psychological Wellbeing for All Children; a regional capacity building organisation that provides technical assistance for psychosocial care and support in 13 countries in the East and Southern Africa region consisting of Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Simbuwa, whose goal in life is to become a lawyer holds a view that ignorance in rural areas, and peri-urban areas results in entrenched poverty as vulnerable communities are socially and economically dispossessed.
In line with the biblical teach a young person and him or she shall never depart from counsel and mentorship, is fond of Psalms 18:1-3, which stresses the importance of children being supported by parents and guardians.
While noting that learning institutions had mushroomed in Zambia and the line of rail, Simbuwa is urging the Zambian Government to increase availability of school s in rural areas of Zambia, as children trek long distances.
Further, citing the Affiliation and Maintenance Act 64, Simbuwa implores Government and interest groups to enact laws prohibiting neglect of children were stiffened, and eventually act as a deterrent to parents and guardians fond of neglecting child care and support.
Simbuwa, a nephew to former Zambia national Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) broadcaster, Kunda Mando insists that ignorance of the law and lack of effective sensitization had resulted in parents and guardians failing to pay attention to detail, and thus confining children to suffering.
Simbuwa, a Grade Eight pupil at Woodlands A Primary School in Lusaka says the starting point is for Government structures creating access to community facilities through which children can be easily registered so that each and every child must have easy access to both name and birth registration.
“Children must be registered by name at birth and issued with birth certificate, and overall child rights must be provided and applied every day, “ advised Simbuwa as he observed that negligence in itself was a crime punishable under the Zambian and international law, pointing out that any culprit found wanting needed to be penalized or censured.
Simbuwa called on authorities to curb the vice by arresting those found breaching the Affiliation and Maintenance Act 64. The Child Rights Activist regretted that it seems there existed an army of citizens that continued to bear children without taking responsibility.
The Government must practically ensure that those that bear children are constitutionally mandated to register a child at birth and offer sustained access to basic to life among children. Maxwell Simbuwa urged Government to introduce or enforce laws that will compel men and youth that impregnate girl children or adult females to take good care of children as lack of support results in such children failing to complete school.
Further, Simbuwa implored the Zambian Government to introduce School Feeding Programmes that will guarantee access to food and basic nutrition among children under the care of single parents, grandmothers and those born out of wedlock.
He pointed out that the Zambia Police Victims Support Unit (VSU) needed to be redefined by making it more humane and child friendly, instead of its current masculine faced which scares children and whistle blowers.
Simbuwa noted that more time had previously been spent on talking, a practice which deserved a shift away from as it was now time to walk the talk by enforcing regulations designed to constitutionally protect children and singled parents.
Simbuwa, a Media Network for Child Rights and Development (MNCRD) member observed that every intervention must be done with the overall best interest of a child at heart. In addition, Simbuwa implored authorities to involve children when taking legal and practical measures meant to protect young people, as imposition of interventions without consulting children had proved ineffective as alluded to earlier.
Simbuwa pointed out that time had come for the Zambian Government to ensure that all children receive parental support.