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K100 million for children’s commission lies idle

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By Witness Banda:

At least K100 million which parliamentarians allocated to the children commission in the 2022- 23 National Budget is yet to be utilised as the government is yet to appoint commissioners.

A commission for children became an obligation for the government after Parliament passed the National Children Commission Act in 2019.

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Speaking during the official opening of Children’s Parliament for Mzimba South at Mnjiri Community Day Secondary School Hall in Mzimba District on Thursday, Speaker of the Children’s Parliament for Mzimba, Rachael Ngulube, asked for speedy appointment of office-bearers for the commission.

“Commissioners should be appointed now other than later,” Ngulube said.

She said the commission will go a long way in promoting quality life among children in the country.

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Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs, Savel Kafwafwa, concurred with Ngulube on the need to speed up the appointment of commissioners.

“Now that there are funds and the law is there, what is needed is to hit the ground running.

“We, as a committee, would be interested in talking to those who will become commissioners because our duty is to make sure that public servants and duty bearers are doing their work accordingly,” Kafwafwa said.

Similarly, Senior Technical Adviser on Policy Advocacy and Government Relations for Save the Children, John Chipeta, emphasised the need to have the commission operational.

“We have been informed that preparations are at an advanced stage. Remember that the amendment was done in April and the President [Lazarus Chakwera] assented in June this year.

“That amendment was trying to iron out some of the grey areas in the Act, if I might say so,” he said.

On her part, Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Minister Patricia Kaliati, who spoke during the closing ceremony on Friday, said the government had the interest of children at heart.

“As such, we are calling upon all the district councils to have their own children’s parliaments so that the children can be heard. That way, they will be in a position to make decisions and even policies,” Kaliati said.

The theme for the 2022 Children’s Parliament is ‘Children’s Parliament, Children’s Voices Matter’.

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