By Cyrus Bengo

THERE are ominous signs  that the Malawi society is sliding inexorably into the abyss judging by the spate of criminal and abominable acts being perpetrated by those who have jettisoned and trivialised the imperatives of moral rectitude. All kinds of criminalities, some of which put question marks on the mental health of the perpetrators, are being committed with reckless abandon. The latest in the series is the recent defilement of a nine-year-old baby by a 39-year-old granny from T/A Msaula in Lilongwe district.

It is difficult to fathom the kind of pleasure that any adult with a sound mind could derive from sexual intercourse with a nine- year-old child. Indeed, the old man’s action is incomprehensible, prompting the thought that his mental health is suspect. The incident is both sickening and confounding. It is a clear evidence that the moral decadence in many homes and communities is already causing dysfunction in the system, throwing up and unleashing the worst kind on the society.

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Many people are becoming increasingly incapable of rational thought, decisions and actions because the society’s value system has been weakened and impaired. Unfortunately, the innocent and decent citizens, like the impressionable child in the instant case,  are those constantly at the mercy of the  danger which these malefactors constitute.

There are inherent useful lessons for parents, especially mothers, in this incident.  Though it is yet unclear whether or not the baby’s mother felt it was safe to leave her child with mother in-law because the adult who eventually abused her was around, mothers should learn not to be careless with their young ones. Parents should be circumspect about entrusting their babies with all manner of people who could readily take advantage of children. It is important to note that children are vulnerable to devious favours coming from mindless individuals in the society. Mothers must, therefore, learn to guide against the antics of such dubious individuals.

In these perilous times when there is a preponderance of cases of sexual perverts prowling  everywhere and committing atrocities, mothers have their job cut out for them in protecting their children, especially girls, from sexual predators within and outside the home. The situation has been made more complicated with the instances of uncles sexually assaulting their nieces and fathers their daughters. Mothers should be extra-vigilant in monitoring their  girls.

They should ensure that their welfare and wellbeing are guaranteed at all times. They are also encouraged to continue to care and provide comfort to their children so that the emotional attachment usually engendered through such dispositions will enable their children to react negatively whenever ‘outsiders’ are getting unnecessarily cozy with them. In other words, the bond of love and care between mothers and their babies in Malawi tradition should be sustained in order to protect the children from wayward, weird and wicked characters in the society.

It is rather surprising that some desperate felons are still committing sexual abuse offences when government seems to have zero tolerance for sexual violence and has indeed secured the conviction of many offenders.  A society where even children are not safe from the activities of sexual predators has lost its moral compass and needs self-cleansing  and moral rearmament in order to regenerate. That is why we have always advocated that leadership at all levels and of all variants—family, religious, traditional and governmental—should brace up to the challenge of rapidly declining morals which has made it increasingly difficult for many to operate within the precincts of decency and decorum or stay within the legal boundaries.  Yes, what is morally acceptable may not necessarily be legal, but a morally decadent fellow is unlikely to be law-abiding.

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