On Tuesday, we carried the sad story of a young mother, Beauty Chivaura, who two months ago dumped her baby Nyasha in a pit latrine in Pfungwe before the poor soul was discovered 48 hours later.
Nyasha was only a week old when his mother tried to kill him.
The story has whipped up emotions and various reactions from society. Many a commentator has come up with a plethora of reasons for Chivaura’s act and those with like minds.
The reasons proffered include a decline in moral standards in society which is seen as promoting and fuelling baby dumping, insufficient sex education, whether the culprit has been raped, cultural and family background and the castigation from society of teenage mothers.
These are all factors that could force them to abandon their babies.
Of course, the list is endless.
But could baby dumping not also be attributed to the dismal failure by families to impart noble values to their teenage children to avoid such scenarios?
Nowadays, for reasons best known to them, teenage girls are fast becoming mothers, but after waking up and smelling the coffee, they commit this heinous crime – baby dumping.
The six-million-dollar question would be: how best can authorities and society curb this scourge?
Certain quarters have called for a mandatory death sentence on conviction while others say teenage mothers who dump their babies should be locked up for a long time without the option of a fine.
No mitigation can excuse baby dumping, others contend.
But instead of scratching on the surface of this deep-seated problem, one needs to look at the underlying causes of the phenomenon.
The mother could indeed have been made susceptible by her boyfriend or sugar daddy who would have promised the vulnerable girl heaven on earth.
We need to access the level of desperation which forced a mother like Chivaura to throw away her baby.
Could she have been not only ditched by her lover but ostracised by society for an act deemed immoral?
Was she of a purely criminal mind when she dumped little Nyasha or it was fear of the unknown that drove her up the wall?
These questions could determine the level of aggravation when considering punishment for baby dumpers.
What about the mothers’ male partners? Should they be held accountable as well?
Although in Zimbabwe, the ultimate penalty for baby dumping is a lengthy period in prison, it is worth conducting in-depth research on the causes of baby dumping before punishment is meted.
Just recently, government gave students who get pregnant while at school the green light to continue with their education, a marked departure from what has been the norm.
The girl is now allowed to go on maternity leave and then return to classes. Surely, this is absurd. Such decisions are unhelpful in that they do not only encourage girls to get pregnant while in school, but erode social moral fibre.