Defence minister Davies Chama says democracy in the country has forced the government to stop teaching street kids life skill for fear of infringing on their human rights.
And Chama, a nominated member of parliament, who is also former ruling party secretary general, says the PF government will use the defence wing to boost the country’s food security.
According to State House operated Smart Eagles Facebook page, the minister was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Kitwe District Commissioner Binwell Mpundu in the company of senior Zambia National Service (ZNS) officers.
Chama regretted that when the government decides to reforms streets kids by teaching them life skills, parents protested saying the move was infringing on their children’s rights.
When asked if the ministry would take on board youths from the streets to train them in agriculture and other skills, Chama said the arrangement could only be done after consultation with stakeholders and parents of the children.
“This democracy has brought problems in our country. When government decides to take youths from the streets to train them in various skills, people will rise to say you are infringing on the rights of the children. Even parents of the child who are not seen, will come from nowhere,” Chama said.
He said government was not eager to take street kids.
“This is the problem in our country, everything is politicised. So unless stakeholders including parents of the children agree, we can’t take the children in the streets to train them,” Chama added.
He also said the Defence wing was not all about military activities.
“The ZNS is doing a commendable job in agriculture. They are contributing significantly to the food security in the country. So I can tell you that we are moving away from being a consumer ministry and we are now becoming an economic ministry through our involvement in agriculture and food production in the country,” said Chama.