SOME issues are so critical that, they cannot be perceived to be boring to read or hear about, no matter how frequently they are discussed. Fitting most appropriately in that category is the scheme that Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda initiated recently, to inject sanity onto the essentially hallowed issue of parenthood.
We are invoking the combination of word and expression sanity without batting the proverbial eyelid, because, as what has been transpiring at the RC’s base clearly shows, disharmony and attendant stress is rocking some family units. Scandals have been exposed, of some men who had literally co-produced children with female companions, literally going into hiding.
They haven’t been fending for the children through financial upkeep, to facilitate basics like food, clothing, schooling and medical care. It is a burden that the companions, as mothers, have been striving to shoulder solo, and, for luckier ones, with some support from sympathetic relatives and other well-wishers. The scheme was initially a one-sided featuring aggrieved mothers.
In a dramatic but welcome twist, it has been broadened, in the wake of some men emerging to lodge complaints over being at the receiving end. It is a development which, to his credit, RC Mahonda is addressing, by warning manipulative women who, to a considerable extent, had been perceived to be the exclusively tormented lot. He stressed that those who sought to impose paternity of children on innocent men, risked being sued and suffering ensuing legal repercussions in the event they were found guilty.
The DNA angle, which some of the alleged male culprits have confidently declared they are ready to undergo, is a welcome part of the broader drama. For, ultimately, justice is ideally the goal we should all drum up and wish for. Particularly sensitive is the rights of innocent children who are trapped in-between and being traumatised. Compromise between partners at loggerheads is a welcome development.
In his Thursday update, Mr Makonda, whose office had handled nearly 1,000 cases by then, said 178 cases had been thus resolved. The predictable broader sweet outcome from the Makonda initiative is that current and potential mischief makers on the critical paternity-maternity issue will be on their guard. Ultimately, the sanity that we alluded to earlier as having been compromised, will be considerably restored, for society’s collective good.