Back to Index
youth question govt policy
June 02, 2011
in Masvingo questioned Zimbabwe's national youth policy during
a Youth Dialogue sponsored by the Mirror newspaper and the U.S.
Embassy. The young people blamed current policy for marginalizing
them from the decision-making process and encouraging a culture
of violence in politics, especially during elections.
"Youth in the periphery
are shunned from national processes due to a lack of information
leading those with resources to use young people to gain power,"
said Talent Maphosa, a student attached to a peace NGO, Community
Tolerance, Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD). "This
has also meant that those with resources dictate the development
processes, as they have access to individuals in authority and institutions,
at the expense of marginalized youth," said the student activist.
Maphosa and three other
youth leaders based in Masvingo, Bishop Emmanuel Mawewe, lecturer
Amos Mushati, and human rights activist Nadia Madambi, led a panel
discussion on the role of youth in rebuilding Zimbabwe co-sponsored
by the Mirror newspaper in Masvingo and the United States Embassy
at a local hotel in Masvingo.
The dialogue session
was attended by nearly 60 youth representatives, as well as U.S.
Ambassador Charles Ray, Masvingo Mayor Femius Chakabuda and Masvingo
Member of Parliament Tongai Matutu, who is also MDC-T Deputy Minister
of Youth, Indigenization and Empowerment.
should do away with policies that discourage youth from participating
in political processes, such as the requirement to produce proof
of residence for one to be registered as a voter," said Nadia
Ndabambi, a peace monitor with the Zimbabwe
Peace Project. "The youth do not own houses," she
noted. She also called for more female participation in political
and governance issues. She challenged what she described as a common
and dangerous perception that, "whenever a woman is involved
in politics, she is described as having loose morals."
"Zimbabwe is slowly
but surely creating monsters out of its youth.... What we experienced
in the last elections negatively affected the gains of our liberation
struggle," noted Bishop Mawewe, Founder of Judea Mission. He
challenged Zimbabwean youth to find a positive, alternative view
to take a different approach to politics as we head towards elections.
Politics does not mean violence, it is the art of governance in
accordance with good policy," said the church minister.
Amos Mushati, who chairs
the Media Studies and English Language Department at Great Zimbabwe
University, called for an overhaul of the education curriculum to
inculcate a new mindset among youth.
" We need to come
up with a curriculum that is capable of transforming the mindset
of the youth so that that we move away from being show goers,"
said Mushati, who bemoaned a lack of participation by Zimbabwean
youth in processes that would affect the future of the country.
He specifically cited the recent Parliament-led constitution making
process as an example.
"We need youths
who are nationally conscious and sensitive to the needs of national
ideals. Youth should think of Zimbabwe before any political persuasions,"
said the educationist.
Deputy Minister of Youth,
Indigenization and Empowerment Matutu answered a barrage of questions
from the audience about his ministry's consultative processes,
representation of youth in his ministry, indigenization policy,
the national youth service and access to loans for youth development
"Youth must be able
to define themselves. If they fail to do so, they will be abused
and used to commit acts of violence. No one will be rewarded for
violence. They can be acknowledged but not rewarded. No one ever
gets rich or educated from violence," said the Deputy Minister.
Matutu bemoaned the lack
of coordination in youth policy noting that despite the existence
of a youth ministry, other ministries also have their own youth
policies. However, he defended government indigenization policy
noting that it was in the implementation that there are divergent
The dialogue in Masvingo
is the second such event supported by the United States Embassy.
It was part of the United States' ongoing engagement with
young Africans that began in August 2010 with President Obama's
Forum with Young African Leaders in Washington, D.C.
"The U.S. is committed
to supporting African solutions to Africa's challenges and
to helping build networks between young American and Zimbabwean
leaders that will lead to lasting partnerships," said Charles
Ray, U.S. Ambassador.
The next Youth
Dialogue session will be held in Bulawayo on June 16th, 2011.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.