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Mnangagwa dangles promises to restless youths

by Staff reporter
22 Feb 2024 at 04:57hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday pledged empowerment opportunities to youths, but groups representing the restless young population immediately thumbed their noses at the promises saying the poverty afflicting them required more than mere mouth-watering promises.

Delivering his speech yesterday during the National Youth Day celebrations in Masvingo whose theme was: Positioning youth empowerment and development towards achieving vision 2030, Mnangagwa said: "We will create undermy government opportunities for empowerment through programmes such as the Presidential Heifers Pass-On Scheme, Integrated Youth Schemes Development and Agriculture Mechanisation Schemes.

"I call upon you young people to develop partnership and viable business synergies which generate income as well as improve your quality of life. You don't need to leave the country in order to improve your life. You can do jobs that can uplift your life."

In separate interviews, youths, however, said Mnangagwa's speech was uninspiring because of his government's basket of unfulfilled promises since he came into office in 2018.

They said there was nothing to celebrate on the National Youth Day because they were wallowing in poverty and failing to make ends meet.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) president, Emmanuel Sitima said they were in mourning and had nothing to celebrate.

"We are mourning the death of democracy and the reversal of the gains of the liberation struggle," Sitima said.

"At the centre of the liberation struggle there was the land question and the right to vote (universal suffrage), but due to the system Robert Mugabe created, we are witnessing that right being bastardised."

"As youths, we have nothing to celebrate on this day. This youths day comes at a time when thousands of students are deferring their studies due to lack of fees."

Zinasu UZ member, Tatenda Kutsirayi, said Mugabe was "the chief architect of the problems youths are facing on a daily basis".

"As students we condemn and equally dismiss the brouhaha and bravado by heretic and questionable characters of the government to celebrate the youths while the youths are waking up on the blessing of an empty stomach and a jobless existence so they should not try to celebrate us once a year," Kutsirayi said.

"The youths should be celebrating at their workplaces daily, they should celebrate at their campuses every semester, but it's so unfortunate that corruption is on steroids and the youth employment and needs are stagnant."

In a statement, Youth Decides Zimbabwe said there was no political will to improve the plight of the country's youths, citing the failure to implement the National Youth Policy (2020-25).

"We are dismayed by the lack of progress towards the enactment of the National Youth Bill which would provide a legal framework for young people," the youth group said.

"We call upon the government, the private sector, the civil society, and the international community to recognise and support the potential and agency of young people as key drivers of change and development."

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) also said there was little to celebrate as seen by many young people taking to drugs and other illegal substances to escape from their daily struggles.

"Unfortunately, the day comes at a time when there is little to celebrate — a time when youths are grappling with drug and substance abuse challenges, youths are used as tools for political violence, and youths are victims of fear-induced apathy in civic and democratic processes," ZimRights said.

"In a normal economic democratic developmental State, the youth bulge in Zimbabwe should mean high productivity; high gross domestic product, low unemployment rate; productive human capital; pro-youths policies and equal youth representation in governance.

"Eighty percent of Zimbabwean youths are unemployed; youths are underrepresented in Parliament and are largely abused as tools for politicking. Zimbabwe is in a poly-crisis and the youths are the worst affected."

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum lamented violence against children.

"There is and can be no place for violence against children in a modern and progressive democratic society," the forum said.

"The forum underscores that a child's best interests are of paramount importance as captured under section 19 of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe."

Source - newsday