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Youths want more seats in Parly

by Staff reporter
18 Feb 2020 at 05:51hrs | Views
YOUTHS have said they want more than 10 proportional representation seats in Parliament and have threatened to campaign for the rejection of a proposed constitutional amendment which only proposes 10 seats to be reserved for them.

The Constitutional Amendment (No 2) Bill proposes that there be one youth representative in Parliament per province, but youths said since they constituted the majority in the country, they should have more than 10 seats.

MDC youth chairperson Obey Sithole recently told NewsDay that the proposed 10 seats were not enough given that demographically, the youths constituted 67,7% of the population.

"If the constitutional amendment says a maximum of 10 youths, then it will be disregarding the efforts that young people in this country should contribute to the political terrain," he said.

"What we expect is a scenario where young people participate freely in political decision-making because in terms of demographics, the majority of the people remain the youths and the Constitution needs to change the narrative and provide for an environment that is free for young people to participate and be able to run political campaigns."

Sithole said the 10 proportional representation seats should be the minimum and not the maximum number of youthful MPs.

"If anything, it is the old people who should be getting into Parliament through the quota system. We cannot continue to allow them to claim a larger share of seats because this country is in this crisis because of these old people. What is needed is an environment where youths can participate freely in the political terrain," he said, adding that currently, the youths could not campaign freely because they did not have the financial muscle to do so due to joblessness, which has resulted in older people taking all the seats.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa (independent) supported the youths' demands, but added that priority should be for people living with disabilities (PLWDs).

"The President might not be a youth, but the country's policies must protect the youth. However, we also need to consider the issue of PLWDs. In fact, it would be proper if the youth contest. Why should they be appeased? For example, the Harare West MP Joanna Mamombe (MDC Alliance) contested, but she is young," Mliswa said.

Non-governmental organisation (NGO), WeLead has already launched a campaign to have the age of youths eligible for public office reduced from 21 to 18 years.

The NGO is also advocating for young people to freely contest for posts, instead of being appointed.

Source - newsday