A call for licensing parenting

Jeff Mutimba (PhD)
[email protected]
+263 772 615 211

The problem

My heart bleeds when I see children being brought into worlds of hopelessness, desperation, with no effective rights to anything:

· no parental love;
· no decent care;
· subjected to outright abuse;
· no access to decent food and water;
· no decent bedding nor clothing;
· no decent housing nor warmth;
· no schooling nor hope of a better life;
· no decent friends nor loving and caring relatives;
· practically, and effectively, they have no rights.

Advocates of ‘human rights’, where are you! How is it that it is everybody’s right to make children – including making children without ‘rights’ to decent lives?

We need to confront this problem ‘head on’ and come up with a licensing system for those who wish to enter parenthood.

The Herald newspaper of 3 February 2020 reports concern over the rate of suicides (1641 in 2018 – and reported as “looming crisis”) and road accidents (1838 in 2018) as alarming – yet there are thousands of children suffering slow deaths. There is even a campaign to half road deaths by 2030 – but there is no campaign to stop these slow deaths.

Weird societal beliefs

Currently our societal beliefs are so weird that they make men superior to women. We believe that men must provide all the necessities of life – even when we see men failing to provide for themselves. So we see girls with no reliable means of survival having children with the belief that the men will provide – and if the men don’t provide, the courts, in their wisdom or lack of it, forces them to pay money to maintain the children (and, inadvertently, their mothers) – even where the men might have no reliable income. This further reinforces the belief that women are weak: they are too weak to know, and to decide, what is good for them; they cannot take responsibility for their decisions to sleep with men; they cannot look after themselves and their children. If this is not insulting to women, I don’t know what is. In fact, this is trash. There are women who fall pregnant deliberately to force the men to marry them. Apart from rape, many children are born after the woman has said …”Yes, I love you; Yes, let’s have unprotected sex”. How does this become the man’s responsibility when the woman had every right, and possibility, to say ‘NO”.

The belief that men will provide is so prevalent up to this day and age that many parents will not give their daughters sound education on the mistaken belief that they will find men to look after them. If this is not criminal, I don’t know what is. The most common question when a girl has a boyfriend is…Is the boyfriend working? Where? The same question is not asked of the girlfriend. Usually the main concern is …Is she faithful?

To make matters worse, the girls do not seem to look and learn. They will make children with the hope of getting married to a provider despite the fact that they will have dozens of friends, even siblings, who have tried that route (of mutangamberi) and failed. Some don’t even learn from their own personal experiences – after having one unwanted child, they will go on and make more with the hope that they will find a man who will provide. Usually they end up doing menial jobs to look after the children from multiple fathers.

Superficial solutions

Then you see some creative people thriving on the suffering of these children by forming little orphanage homes for ‘some’ of the children and then appealing to well-wishers for funds. These, together with courts ordering to pay maintenance, will be fighting unwinnable battles as they will be fighting the symptoms. Sex education has had limited success.

This is a crime

By watching and not putting a stop to this, we are accomplices to these heinous crimes. These crimes are worse that taking a gun and shooting the unwanted children dead. They would die less painful deaths than:
· starving to death;
· scavenging for food in refuse bins and dumps and die of food poisoning;
· sleeping in the open and die from the vagaries of the weather;
· suffering from simple sickness and dying because they have no access to medical care;
· suffering from physical abuse because there is no one to protect them (vanogaropurwa kurohwa senyoka yapinda mumba).

· they are emotionally tormented (vatotukwa nezvituko zvavabereki vavo like mwana we simbe, mwana wehure, mwana wembavha)
· they are sexually abused;
· they are accused for crimes they have not committed;
· their mere presence causes irritation;
· people are not free to let them in their homes;
· they are not free to let them sit on their chairs.
· people are not free to let their children play with them;
· people are not free to give them their left-over food;
· people are not free to give them their children’s old clothes;

On the other hand well-looked after children are bundles of joy:
· they are a pleasure to watch and play with.

We need parenting licenses

How is that one needs a license to run a little corner shop and sell things like empty bags, spanners, sweets, etcetera, but does not need a license not only to make whole human beings, but also to raise them – to be a parent? When you want to run a business, you have to satisfy certain conditions for you to be allowed and be granted a license. None of the businesses we are compelled to have licenses for are more important than parenthood. How come we do not need licenses for it? Just because one is a man, he has the right to make children; just because one is a woman, that is license enough to make children. This is criminal not only to the offender, but more so to the rest of us who watch this happen with amusement.

(I deliberately use the term ‘make children’ and not ‘having children’ because you can have them through adoption – and you have to be assessed for suitability by the way).

Men and women who wish to enter parenthood should first be vetted for suitability and be given certificates of fitness (or ‘readiness’ to be polite). Systems for vetting those who want to adopt children are already there – but there are no systems for vetting those who want to ‘make’ their own children.

I know I am going to get negative comments for seemingly being unsympathetic to girls – but I know that it is these perceived sympathies and protection pretentions that are disempowering to women and girls. Otherwise they have the power, the freedom and the right to say NO when they are not ready to be mothers.

While the idea of licensed parenthood might seem wild, doing nothing about the problem is not an option.


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