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Finally, common sense prevails

This week was an international commemoration week against the death penalty. I have never hidden my disdain for this useless and evil punishment. Make no mistake about it, I used to support it. I supported it with unbridled fervor.

Now I oppose it with the same intensity. It took deep introspection for the change in viewpoint to occur. Most importantly, it took honesty; honesty to the subject. On my part, the change hasn’t been without cost. It has been worthwhile, though. I feel liberated from thoughtless anger, vengeance, evil and fake intellectual assumptions. The ever, emotionally pent up social media and radio crowds have fallen on me like a ton of bricks. But I have taken a position.

The death penalty does not work and constitutes an unnecessary distraction from genuine crime fighting efforts. After hanging close to 50 people, over 50 years, we should be able to tell the public that there are indications that it is working. We can’t. Instead, we dishonestly feed the gullible population with assumptions as facts. People are still getting killed at alarming rates.

Yet, we maintain it has deterrent value. That is dishonesty. People have been killed publicly for thousands of years on the same pretext in very gruesome ways. Whatever it is that makes us think that the next ultra-secret hanging will finally deliver the message we have been unable to send 50 times over 50 years is difficult to fathom.

But I am not about the death penalty this week. Yesterday was the International Day for the Girl Child. The day came just as the debate about the raising of the consent age was raging on in public platforms. I have been following the debate even as I have been involved in it. Close your eyes and make a guess which gender has been violently opposed to the raising the consent age. You guessed right; the culprit gender. The one that commits almost all the rapes, indecent assaults, sexual harassments, defilements, you name it. The one without locus standi. The arguments are plainly conceited and unsurprisingly dishonest. The primary pretext is that we are putting seventeen year olds at risk of conviction for sexual relationships with their peers.

It is all a load of tripe. An honest argument would be for the exclusion of the peer category. Besides, under sixteens have been having sex among themselves. They have never been held criminally liable for so doing except in cases of rape. The faked fate of young boys is being used by a criminally complicit male population as a pretext to legitimise sleeping with secondary school going children. Another hopeless argument; it is said that the solution lies in education as opposed to punishment.

Whose education? Whose punishment? Do adult men have to be

educated to leave children alone? Do we have to teach fathers that it is wrong for them to sleep with children? Don’t they know that by reference to their own children? Well if it is about educating the children, so be it. In fact that is necessary and I agree. But that is no substitute to protecting them statutorily.

Protection and education are not mutually exclusive. Another delivery of tripe by the culprit gender. Someone went so far as to say that 17 year olds should be heard out on what they want. The suggestion is that we should have a referendum of juveniles to determine whether they want sex with adults.  It’s a funny society we live in.

The fact is that they, generally, have not matured to take responsibility for the challenges that come with sexual intercourse even if their bodies are ready for it. We generally don’t produce fully emancipated young girls at 18 and the existence of exceptions does not convincingly argue for their non-protection. Children should be allowed to be children.

They should be allowed to, at least, finish secondary school without sexual distractions and pressures from a corrupt male population. Hundreds of children drop out of school every year due to pregnancies and contract incurable diseases. Their lives are ruined before they can even make career decisions. If you think the majority of all those girls are impregnated by their peers, think again. Others argue that sections of the population marry their young as early as 14.

The logic of it is that since some cultures are given to permitting sex at early ages that is fine. Culture, without more, is the logic. Well, how have these cultures been surviving when the bar was at 16? If they have been violating the law the perpetrators will be punished if caught.

There are many days for the thief, and one day for the owner. If a culture, even religion, proscribes the immunisation of children in the face of an epidemic or in the interest of children, why should that stop Parliament from enacting necessary laws to protect society and to protect children.

If a culture denies children an education why should that prevent the government from enacting laws to ensure that the children have a chance at education?I want to thank the government for the intended legislation. Yes, prisons will fill up with males. But what do you expect? That is where these male thugs belong. We are not about to accommodate them at Avani Hotel!

Chief On Friday



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