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New Age Voices - Issue 11
January 20, 2011
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call for proper youth policy consultation
Youths have called for a proper and comprehensive youth policy consultation
that involves youths from all corners of the country and have called
on the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) to embark on a thorough and
inclusive process and not to involve them in rubberstamping skewed
Article 12 of the Africa Youth Charter provides
for every state party to develop a comprehensive and coherent national
youth policy. Zimbabwe as state party has the Zimbabwe Youth Policy
that was adopted by Parliament and enacted into a law in 2000 way
before the African Youth Charter was adopted in 2006 by the state
parties pending ratification.
Article 12 of the African Youth Charter also calls
for extensive consultation with young people during the development
of the national youth policy.
In view of this, youths said that the Zimbabwe Youth
Policy is outdated and characterized with deficiencies as far as
the fulfillment of the provisions of the African Youth Charter are
concerned, since all national youth policies of state parties have
to be developed in accordance with article 12 of the African Youth
However, youths say it is unfortunate that the Ministry
of Youth development, Indigenization and Empowerment is undertaking
a review process of the National Youth Policy without comprehensive
civic education on the African Youth Charter Policy Development.
They said that such civic education is a prerequisite
if a comprehensive and coherent national youth policy that is acceptable
to the youthful citizenry of Zimbabwe is to be developed.
a research on the Zimbabwe Youth Policy that was carried out by
the Youth Empowerment for Transformation (YET) noted that the majority
of Zimbabwean youth are not aware of the policy which proves that
the development of the policy was not informed by extensive consultation
with young people. YET also noted that there are no guarantees for
the freedoms, rights and duties within the National Youth Policy
as per the main rulings on the guarantees of such freedoms, rights
and duties of the African Youth Charter.
Also in its findings, YET said that the guidelines on the definitions
of youth and sub groups adopted in the Zimbabwe Youth Policy are
not synchronized with the definitions provided for within the African
Youth Charter and that national programmes of action developed within
the National Youth Policy framework are not adequately connected
with an implementation and evaluation strategy.
"There is no adequate and sustained budgetary allocation for
the programme of action within the National Youth Policy framework,"
Zimbabwe Youth Council Board Member Tichaona Masiyambiri said that
it was premature to try and validate a process that has not been
able to reach out to all the youths to enable them to contribute
He said that youths should be given the opportunity to extensively
scrutinize the youth policy regardless of their location and not
to concentrate on soliciting views from the urban areas only.
policy consultations should not be concentrated in Harare alone,
but it should spread even to all the remote areas of the country
so that the final document would be representative of all the youths
in the country. We do not want a situation whereby the views captured
are representative of Harare and Bulawayo only.
A youth organization,
Youth Agenda Trust (YAT) said that as an organization that works
with young people from marginalized communities, they view the familiarization
and popularization of the African Youth Charter through teaching,
education and publications of the respect of rights, responsibilities
and freedoms contained in the African youth charter to its membership
and other youth as a prerequisite before the Zimbabwe National Youth
Policy Review process is carried out.
YAT said that this would ensure meaningful contribution by its membership
and other youth during the National Youth Policy review consultations
which the ZYC is undertaking since the youth will be aware of the
freedoms, rights and responsibilities as well as the corresponding
obligations and duties as outlined in the AYC. Other youth organisations
have also concurred that the meaningful participation of young people
during the consultations will guarantee the development of a youth
friendly National Youth Policy that is acceptable by the generality
of the young people in Zimbabwe.
"The youths within the national framework of the Zimbabwe
youth policy review must participate actively both within the review
process and as equal recipients and beneficiaries of such policies.
This can be achieved by educating these young people on the provisions
of the African Youth Charter prior to the national youth policy
review consultations," YAT said.
The formulation or review of the National Youth Policy will enable
young people to focus on issues affecting them so that they can
mobilize each other towards addressing the problems and contributing
towards the development of the society.
National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) said that
the Government should adjust the National Youth Policy in line with
the changing political landscape and must review it periodically
to enable it to maintain relevance.
official Njabulo Moyo said that there was need for flexibility if
the national youth policy was to gain relevance given the vastly
changed political landscape in the country. "We have to face
the reality that the political landscape has changed. There is need
for a policy document that reflects these changes. It is also important
that the document is reviewed periodically so that it remains relevant
in this ever changing environment," Moyo said.
He said that the youth policy should be a platform for young people
to participate saying that any overtures to sideline the youth would
end up as a self fulfilling prophecy. "If young people do
not participate, the document becomes a borrowed piece of paper.
This policy should involve us. The youths should be involved in
the formulation and implementation of the youth policy, they should
be in charge," said Moyo.
Zimbabwe Youth Council board member, legal practitioner
and disability activist Abraham Mateta said that the national youth
policy should ensure that all youths are represented in the final
policy document because the current one is deeply flawed. Mateta
also called f or th e mainstreaming of gender in the national youth
policy to ensure equal participation between males and females.
He also called for the need for the policy to mainstream disability.
"We see disability as cross cutting. About 10 percent of the
country's population is disabled so these people must be accommodated
to ensure that they participate. As the board we need to step up
our efforts in ensuring meaningful participation of people with
disability," said Mateta.
Visit the Youth
Agenda Trust fact
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