Political forbearance is not yet one of the strongest symbols of Namibia’s multi-party democracy and it is an irritating trend when children are pliably coerced to partake in political activities without the direct consent of their parents.
Children are not only the future of any society, they are also an indication of the hereditary endurance of a family, a community or a country. It is troublesome though when children turn out to be an indulgent target of political parties and the state, especially when politicians nosedive to draw adults to state functions, political meetings or rallies.June 16 is the day of the African Child and in all honesty there is very little the majority of Namibian children can celebrate on that day in the wake of an inferior education system, compounded by a high rate of school dropouts, unaffordable schools, teenage pregnancy, and teachers in relationships with school children, as well as a shortage of teaching aids.
Parents should not only be required to give their consent when their children are targeted for political functions, they should be free to take their kids to political rallies of their choice. The state should rather contemplate embracing national subjects, such as the national anthem, state symbols, elections, reconciliation, economic and political systems, that children need to discern, in the school curriculum of the relevant grades.
The electorate is disillusioned with empty political promises and non-deliverance of crucial services or the lack thereof. Innocent school-going children are used as political cannon fodder, especially in the race to show dominance over other political parties.
Children require assistance with their homework, school projects and to prepare for tests and exams. The non-participation of many parents, especially in rural areas, in the school work of their children is a concern in a country that aims to become a knowledge-based and information society by 2030. Many parents are not only illiterate; they do not comprehend the importance of partaking in their children’s school work. Yet, they see, speak or hear of no evil when politicians lure their unsuspecting kids to political events without their consent. Children who are not eligible to vote are bombarded with political messages that they hardly comprehend.
There is anxiety about the high failure rate among primary school children and their circumstances are not being discussed on any national platforms in comparison to the annual results of the grade ten and twelve students. Our primary schools are characterised by poor performance, lack of parental support, teenage pregnancy and abuse of the rights as children.
High-ranking officials visit school children during school hours and force them out of classes without the consent of parents. They have allotted themselves the right to manipulate school children whenever it suits them. Teachers and parents should rather teach children to make informed choices when they reach the voting-age, rather than leaving them to be coerced in political mudslinging.
Children, as the future generation, need to be encouraged to choose freely while they are still young, but its inappropriate to force them by coercion into political machinations against their will, or that of their parents. Keep children out of political squabbles and send them to school. Let adults and those eligible to vote, attend political rallies.