Would it be callous if the government were to insist on providing contraception to destitute people who have started a mini child begging industry?
Report by Grace Mutandwa
I think not. I think it would be quite responsible for any government to make it a punishable offence for anyone to give birth to children for the sole purposes of using them as beggars.
I know it is every citizen’s right to reproduce, but that right must have a responsibility attached to it — the responsibility to respect a child’s right to shelter, health care, education, food, right to play and right to protection from all forms of abuse. Children have the right to be allowed a normal childhood and not be forced into taking care of their lazy parents.
I have spoken to some of the beggars and they vociferously defend their right to having as many children as they want. I think this is selfish, especially when the very same people end up using those children to prey on our sympathies so they can afford a meal.
The government should take away children from parents who use them as beggars. The parents must be arrested and taken to work for free for various community centres as penance and a form of rehabilitation.
Everyone should respect the dignity of hard work
The reason why the late Jairos Jiri started centres around the country teaching trades to people living with disabilities is because he strongly believed in the value of a positively financially productive nation. He believed that God had endowed each and every one of us with a special and specific talent and all it needed was space for such talent to be nurtured.
He was a man who did not believe in handouts. There is something very disturbing and lacking in dignity about begging or using one’s children as a source of income. I am tired of hearing people who feel guilty about their social standing and try and make excuses for lazy people who do not want to fend for themselves. This is the reason why the number of beggars is increasing everyday and this is the very same reason why adult men think there is nothing wrong with harassing public transport commuters and demanding payment for it!
We have created monsters that we will struggle to get rid off. We have a group of people whose sense of entitlement will be hard to eradicate. We have nothing to be proud of as a nation if we ignore this growing cancer.
All people, irrespective of how they were born, must be encouraged to respect the dignity of work. I know there are very few jobs but I also know that some people loathe receiving handouts, they would rather spend the day vending. I respect people who at least find a way to look after their families. In my view, those are the people who should own the right to reproduce.
People who know they are in a desperate situation have no right making that situation even worse by having children they cannot look after. It is not the responsibility of fellow citizens to look after beggars and their children. We are not doing these people and their children any favours by giving them a coin or a dollar. A population that expects to be looked after and takes no responsibility will destroy whatever we might seek to develop as a country.
We should stop making excuses for beggars and people who steal. Telling ourselves that some people have to live that way because there are no jobs and that the economy is weak is just a shameful excuse. Ignoring what is happening on our streets will not make it disappear.
The state must make some harsh decisions to ensure that no one ever contributes to the begging child population. It might be time to forcibly give contraception to adult beggars. If we do nothing about this we might end up having to follow the Chinese one child policy.
But this might be too late, as we might already be swamped with a population of dependants.
I accept that poor people have rights too but they must also appreciate that the children they bear also have rights that must be upheld. If they cannot freely take responsibility for their sexual mobility, they must be made to do so.