With the march now done, the #IshallNotForget movement is now shifting gears and could soon trade by another name: #LegislationMustChange. After the successful march on the 4th of June 2016, sources say the movement is now gearing up to push for a legislation change, hence #LegislationMustChange. The petition delivered to the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Unity Dow was clear about their next target – the laws. In the petition that was handed and accepted ‘wholeheartedly’ by Dow, the movement demanded that “the Penal Code be amended as a matter of urgency to bring its provisions in line with the Children’s Act. Defilement should apply to all children under the age of 18, NOT 16.” The Children’s Act provides that “Any person who unlawfully and carnally knows any girl under the age of sixteen (16) years is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without corporal punishment, and also that any person who attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of any girl under the age of sixteen (16) years is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, with or without corporal punishment”. The movement implore leaders to enforce the Children’s Act of 2009 and protect innocent children from physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
They also demanded that the state make it its business to investigate any substantive rumour and/or suspicion of child abuse without fear or favour, whether it has been reported or not, as more often than not the victims would not report the incident if their guardians choose not to which is in contravention of the Children’s Act. The movement asked the President, by the powers vested in him, to ensure that those expected by society, by virtue of societal status and public duties, uphold the very laws that seek to protect children and hence demanded that President Ian Khama relieve Fidelis Molao of his position as the Assistant Minister to allow him to clear his name following the allegedly fraudulent leaked screen munches of a conversation between himself and his junior, the Sebina councillor Kemmonye Amon. The councillor is at the centre of the storm after allegedly impregnating an underage girl with Molao supposedly caught advising him on how to overcome the career threatening challenge on the leaked Facebook communication between the two. Molao has denied any involvement, claiming that his account was hacked and asked the police to investigate.
“As citizens, we require complete reassurance that the welfare of our children will be safeguarded by all officials of the Ministry of Education. As things stand, with the serious allegations facing him unresolved, we do not have confidence that the Assistant Minister of Education has the best interests of our children at heart,” the petition stated. As part of proposed solutions that they put forward in the petition, the #IShallNotForget campaigns implored government to ensure effective implementation of programmes geared at addressing the gross abuse of the children as they believe the resources, legal framework and policy, both structural and financial are already in place. They also proposed that government should take advantage of the #IShallNotForget movement in order to reach out and address abuse of children, as the movement has been able to ignite a passion in the general public where government previously fell short.