MMD leader calls on the church to help reduce high number of teenage pregnancies in the country
FILE: First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba share a light moment with MMD president Dr Nevers Mumba and ZAAA president Elias Mpondela (r) during the Inter Company relay. Dr Christine Kaseba yesterday took part in a 5 kilometre walk in Lusaka on June 14 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA
Opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy president Dr. Nevers Mumba says the observation by the first lady on high teenage pregnancies in Chinsali is accurate but notes that the problem is a national problem which requires a national solution by all stakeholders.
And Dr. Mumba has called on the church to help curb early teenage pregnancies in the country.
Speaking in an interview from Mangango where he is currently drumming up support for the party candidate, the opposition leader observed that the church has played a critical role in curbing teenage pregnancies in a lot of countries hence the same platform should be used in the country.
He said early pregnancy challenges that the country is currently facing is not only for the government to fight but all stakeholders and that the church was in the best position to help the country through its moral teaching.
“In a lot of countries the church plays a vital role in mitigating teenage pregnancies in the country. There is no institution, not even government has as much power as the church in changing attitudes and lives completely to turn away from premarital sex.
“I think that the church has proved to be a great engine in discouraging premarital sex so I would like to encourage church leaders across the country to consider establishing their churches in some of the remotest areas of our country in order for morality to be preached and taught to our young ones,” Dr. Mumba said.
He added,” when I was in school whether it was a primary or secondary school a chaplin would come and preach morality to us and I think that is missing for the most part and these kids are living as they wish; so I think the church is under obligation to play a more effective role in dealing with this matter not only through prayers but also putting programs in place that will deliberately keep the young women and men away from such vices.”
The opposition leader also noted that poverty as well as lack of economic empowerment for parents in most areas is also contributing to high numbers of teenage pregnancies obtaining in the country.
“There are of course some possible causes of teen pregnancies; number one of course is poverty. Poverty has created a situation where young girls are vulnerable to the so called business men in their localities that help them to mitigate their poverty.
“They provide what their parents fail to provide and these business men claim that they are going to help them and they fall pray to these business men, the result obviously they get pregnant and they abandon school ending up deeper into poverty because then they have a child to look after and those business men stop supporting them.”
He added, “I think that the policies of government need to be stream lined in order to mitigate that problem. The girl child has been left very vulnerable especially like here in Mangango where we are, you have seen for yourself the priest was telling us that there is one school here and girls do not have dormitories so they leave in different sharks around the school so they end up being abused by these business men and a lot of them are not finishing school.”
The opposition leader also called for the development of policies which would empower families so as to eradicate poverty; the main cause of of teenage pregnancies in the country.
He challenged stakeholders in the country to ensure that they take a national approach in finding solutions to the problem as the problem is not in Chinsali as observed by the first lady countrywide.
“if you were to ask me how to deal with that; firstly as MMD we would want to put policies that will mitigate that problem. 1, ensure that we have a program that protects the young girls and the best way of doing that is empowering their families and not just keep development only in the cities. We must ensure that if there is electricity in Lusaka we also take electricity to Mangango and if there are jobs in Lusaka let’s create jobs here (Mangango) because the people of Mangango are Zambians just like those in Lusaka,” Dr. Mumba said.