First Lady assembles multi-sectoral team to counsel imbibing minors . . . parents of children consuming alcohol to be engaged First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa addresses the committee she formed to engage children who were recorded partaking alcohol and also help the guardians and parents at Zimbabwe House yesterday.

Tendai RupapaSenior Reporter

REACTING to the disturbing video of children who were recorded taking alcohol publicly which went viral on social media platforms last Christmas, First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa has assembled a special team drawn from all the 10 provinces to engage the parents/guardians and counsel the minors to mould them into responsible citizens.

The first-of-its-kind and multi-sectoral committee, will assess the children, their family backgrounds and other causative factors like the proliferation of bars with a view to nipping the scourge in the bud.

The committee will also work with the police in raising awareness against drug and substance abuse in their provinces and communities.

According to the police, more minors were also recorded drinking beer at Juru growth point on the new year’s eve.

These children and their parents have also been invited by the First Lady.

Because of her passion for the well-being of children and their parents, the First Lady highlighted that she will come up with income generating projects for the parents and guardians of the juveniles in question.

The intervention by the mother of the nation reinforces her resolve to ensure children focus on their school work and are not swept away by the tide of drug abuse which is affecting most parts of the world today mainly due to Western influences.

Among others, the team to be led by the First Lady comprises traditional chiefs, wives of chiefs, pastors, social commentators, women from various churches, the police’s Victim Friendly Unit, professional counsellors, health practitioners and family therapists.

Amai Mnangagwa has a passion for women and children and has a number of programmes including Gota/Nhanga/Ixhiba, Nharirire yeMusha and First Lady Against Drugs where she personally interacts with children and parents, giving them direction on what is expected of them.

She encouraged the team to hit the ground running and make a huge difference in the lives of youths around the country. The First Lady and her team will meet the minors and their parents today at Zimbabwe House in a friendly environment.

“I want to thank you all for coming from all the 10 provinces. I invited you to this event which touches the hearts of many parents which occurred on December 25, 2023.

“I have called you so that we put our heads together since it can happen in your home provinces and you take a stand as fathers and mothers. Our country has not reached those lows and we do not want to get there and see children of those young ages taking alcohol. 

“It pains us more as mothers tichiona mwana akabata bhodhoro redoro rakakura kuyenzana naye. I was pained to see the video of children drinking quarts of beer on Christmas Day. 

“Perhaps some of these children had escaped from home and their mothers were surprised to see them on social media,” she said.

Dr Mnangagwa narrated what transpired and the information gathered by the police.

“As mothers, I said we could not fold our hands and watch our children getting lost. I cannot manage alone and that is why I called you over so that we put our heads together.

“Truly, a Grade One pupil taking alcohol? This is not happening in Harare alone. Madzimambo edu we have invited you sanamai so that you see that our children have lost morals. This is a challenge that confronts us all at family level. 

“We called you to hear us cry as mothers because this is a family issue. I have invited you women so that when you get back to your provinces you sit down with others seeing whether or not children are moving on the correct path. What happened affected us more as women. 

“The video circulated and was viewed in other countries, which is embarrassing and degrading that our country has such reprehensible behaviour. I heard on the same day some other minors were also seen boozing at Juru Growth Point, popularly known as kwaBhora,” she said.

“We need to focus and see how we can tackle this issue because tomorrow (today) we are meeting with the children and their parents and guardians separately. We need to counsel them. We are not going to intimidate them but discuss so that we hear where they are learning this from. Personally i was shocked with what i saw. We will be sitting with them on the reed mat so that the children are free and open up. If they can quaff a quart of beer, it can mean they are already into drugs. After this programme the children might open up because there may be a force behind this so when you go back to provinces, move around communities and these cases will be exposed. 

“As time goes on we want to have a women’s conference to discuss as women issues that affect us and our children. We were not pleased with those who sold beer to children. Let us not love money to that extent. If we keep quiet, it only gets worse. Feel free to correct the children. Lets build ideas,” she said before giving them the floor to share ideas.

Social commentator and talk show host, Dr Rebecca Chisamba, voiced concern over the proliferation of beerhalls.

“There is a proliferation of beerhalls. I am not being unfair but there are some dingy bars and our children and nephews think bottle stores are the only available businesses. Visit a shopping centre in high density areas and you will be greeted by deafening noise from every corner where there are many bars and this is the environment where these children whom we want to correct are living in. Most of these dingy bars are not registered,” she said.

Dr Chisamba hailed police operations for lessening crimes but decried that most of the gains scored were largely lost as soon as the operations were over.

Social commentator and talk show host Dr Rebecca Chisamba expresses her views while other members of the committee look on during an interactive meeting which was organised by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to find ways to engage and counsel children who were recorded taking alcohol and also help their guardians at Zimbabwe House yesterday.

“In the rural areas, children are also now misbehaving as well because night clubs are also mushrooming there. A lot of things are now similar in the urban and rural and how do we correct this so that we go back to where we came from. There are some women who are selling drugs and running brothels. What are they teaching the children. We need police to help us and ensure that operations are not run for a small period for the benefit of communities,” she said.

The First Lady weighed in and humbly asked the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to spare time in their curriculum to allow mothers to interact and teach children good values in schools.

“We want the committee to address issues affecting communities. We humbly ask the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to allow us as mothers to regularly visit schools and talk to the children. We need to be part of the curriculum as mothers. 

“We want to be given a chance to teach good manners in schools and see to it that our children are walking in the correct path. Chiefs too must be empowered to deal with these issues exhaustively,” she said.

Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth Phiri from the Police Victim Friendly Unit expressed gratitude to the First Lady for easing their burden through well-thought-out programmes.

Roman Catholic Sister Kanyere expresses her views while other members of the committee look on during an interactive meeting which was organised by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to find ways to engage and counsel children who were recorded taking alcohol and also help their guardians at Zimbabwe House yesterday. Pictures: John Manzongo.

“I want to thank you for this programme Amai. While sitting with other members of the victim friendly unit in line with the issue of children, we discovered that drugs are affecting children. We said alone as police we cannot manage to tackle this challenge. It needs a multi-sectoral approach encompassing community leaders, chiefs, village heads, headmen, councillors from both rural areas and urban areas. 

“There are residents associations as well. We need campaigns because in rural areas there are community radio stations. Those who do not come to the campaigns will hear through the community radio stations through their mother tongues. This is what we were thinking about and our mother came up with a multi-sectoral approach were she gathered us all together today. We thank you Mhamha. You have lightened a huge burden because the whole country was phoning. 

“We have call centres from NetOne, Econet, Telecel and the First Lady’s 575 hotline. People were phoning 24/7. As parents, especially women we are not acknowledging that there is a problem of parenting leading to absence of monitoring of children. This is how I saw it. We are now focusing more on looking for money without seeing to it that our children who are 10 years of age, the one who is four years old has come from school what time. We spend time doing other things at the expense of monitoring our children,” she said.

The words dovetailed with those of Pastor Eve Nemasango-Kawadza from Mutoko in Mashonaland East Province.


Prophetess Anna Moyounotsva expresses her views during an interactive meeting to find ways to engage and counsel children who were recorded taking alcohol and also help their guardians at Zimbabwe House yesterday.

“The word of God enjoins us to train our children on the way we want them to follow and therefore the home is where the foundation is laid. Our parenting skills have changed drastically nowadays and we are now too modern, throwing our morals in the dustbin. Leaving a child to do as they please is not a sign of being modern,” she said.

Dr Lizzy Zinyemba, a social worker and Bindura University of Science Education Lecturer (Mash Central) spoke along the same lines.

“When I saw the video I was pained since I have been doing social work for 10 years. I want to thank you for taking this up. Amai what you have done bodes well with your programmes that you have always been doing teaching children on the dangers of drug and substance abuse. what the children did reflects on the family set up,” she said.

Apostle Lillian Bwanya from Bulawayo Province gave her views on the video which went viral.

“When I watched the video I first thought it was not here in Zimbabwe until I heard Shona in the background and my heart sank. We had never seen this. To arrest this challenge, Amai you did well by also roping in churches and I think it is also prudent to include school teachers because they are the ones who spend more time with the children. The foundation must start at home. Therefore it’s important to engage even newlyweds so that when they have children they know where to start from and they will be having good parenting skills,” she said.

Mrs Bernadette Bakasa of Harare Psycho social support praised the mother of the nation for her vision.

“We are thankful for your vision and it is important to engage the parents as well because the way those children were behaving shows their background. Some of those children had hair tinted white and blonde. A parent who lives a child aged between five and seven tinting their hair? That parent is something else and needs to be sat down wit,” she said.

Mrs Betty Mutamba representing the church expresses her views during an interactive meeting to find ways to engage and counsel children who were recorded taking alcohol and also help their guardians at Zimbabwe House yesterday.

Evangelist Nelly Gwatidzo said bad behaviour by children was a concern for all since it takes the whole village to raise a child.

“That day my young children Amai had also gone out and when they came back after watching that video I started smelling them checking if they did not take alcohol as well because I was shocked with what I saw. As Zimbabweans we thank you for the work that you are doing because when you see something that needs to be rectified you do not fold your hands and take it as your own problem. We heard some children are now boiling condoms and drinking the water to get high. Amai, I therefore suggest that you be given a slot on national television even once a week to teach people. Some might not be able to attend your programmes as you go around but they will be able to see you on television as you interact with them. Once again thank you Amai for coming up with this programme and setting up a committee,” she said.

The wife to Chief Seke Mrs Naume Chimanikire also voiced concern over the activities of bars and highlighted some of the things she experienced during Christmas.

“I am an inquisitive person in line with how you taught us as chiefs wives. On Christmas Day, before we knew of the issue of these drinking children, a brother-in-law of mine took me away from home for a drive around. We went round and passed through a service centre (name supplied) and I took pictures. At this centre there were young children from crèche level to adolescents there were nearly 3 000 children some who were taking alcohol. On one corner there was a disco and beerhall. We need to work hard on this issue and teach our children good morals,” she said.

Chief Chikwaka praised the First Lady for her proactive approach.

Chief Chikwaka expresses his views during an interactive meeting organised by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa to find ways on how to engage and counsel children who were recorded taking alcohol.

“When I saw the clip, I engaged the police and told them that I was prohibiting children below the ages of 18 from milling around growth points after 5pm. I said I will be moving and assessing the situation personally. Little did I know that in my backyard a video was taken at Juru growth point on the same day where children were boozing. I asked the police to intervene. 

“Police then did their investigations and gathered information on the said children, their parents and those who were giving children beer. Amai, I thank you for inviting us as chiefs because we look after people from grassroots level, seeing how they live, assessing how they live and moulding them. 

“The elders say women define homes meaning women are the protectors of the family from the father right down to the children. Some parents go home with beer and drink one leaving one midway, resulting in it being taken by the children. Our communities have lost morals and if we try to voice as chiefs we are dismissed as backward. We grew up knowing that a child belongs to everyone and he is yours alone when still in the stomach. If you try to counsel a neighbour’s child you are reminded to focus on your own. Our morals need to be restored . we thank you for our efforts to restore our morals and as chiefs we will rally behind you,” he said.

Chief Nechombo paid glowing tribute to the First Lady for her vision:

“The work you have started here today brings together people from different backgrounds to work together. You provided a platform to put our heads together to correct our children who are losing the way due to Westernisation. 

“As chiefs, we have learnt a lot from women who spoke here. This shows that everyone has a role to play in disciplining children. We are grateful for the work you are doing and the programme you have here today is essential,” he said.

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