CHILDREN as young as four years old in Choma’s Zambia township are reportedly picking and smoking left-over cigarettes that are indiscriminately thrown by residents that patronise several shebeens in the area.
Orphans and vulnerable organisation youth coordinator Belinda Simpuki is concerned with the high number of shebeens in Zambia Township and other townships in Choma, a predicament she said has contributed to juvenile delinquency.
Ms Simpuki said this in Choma on Monday during an SOS children’s village’s stakeholders consultative meeting aimed at establishing the common problems faced by orphaned and vulnerable children and their families.
“There are too many shebeens in the township Zambia, I’m worried because the plight of children is risky and in some communities, I have witnessed children as young as four to six picking left-over cigarettes and smoking. They learn from people patronising the shebeens,” she said.
Ms Simpuki appealed to Choma Municipal Council (CMC) to consider shutting down shebeens and drinking places patronised by children.
In response, CMC health inspector Stephen Chama said his office is aware of the challenge of mushrooming shebeens in the township which are mostly operating under unsanitary conditions and without licences, a situation he said the local authority is keen to curb.
“But the problem is that we face a lot of political interference when we try to enforce the law on offenders,” Mr Chama said.
Earlier, SOS children’s village national director Joseph Munsanje said the essence of the meeting was for the organisation to gather data that will assist in designing effective and sustainable community intervention measures for children at risk.
Dr Munsanje said SOS, a non-governmental organisation which responds to the need of children who are at risk of losing or have lost their parents, intends to expand its operations to seven districts in Southern Province.
Credit-CHOMBA MUSIKA, ZambiaDailyMail