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Youth Forum welcomes new Minister of Youth: Francis Nhema
Youth Forum
September 26, 2013

The Youth Forum Zimbabwe welcomes the new cabinet which was recently appointed by President Mugabe and hopes it now moves with speed and implement what the Zanu-PF party promised the electorate during the election campaigns. It is sad though that the Youth Forum views the new cabinet as nothing new since 1980, but sees it as same old cronies who have nothing new to offer this country.

We view the new cabinet as old wine in old bottles. With an average age of around 60 years, it would be unfair for the young people to expect salvation from this lot. The youth and the women largely remain by-standers while Mugabe and his old guard take the mantle of both the party and the country.

There is basically no new person among the Cabinet Ministers.

Youth Forum welcomes the appointment of Honourable Francis Nhema as the new minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment as he brings the calmness and openness needed when dealing with young people and may bring new policies that will benefit the youth. Youth Forum Zimbabwe is of the view that the then minister of Youth honourable Saviour Kasukuwere did very little for the youth during his time in office as the Minister of youth, he spend most of his time, efforts and energy on the indigenization drive at the expense of developing youth friendly policies.

More so, the combative approach employed by Kasukuwere did nothing to further the interests of the diverse interests of young people. Most of the policies and programs such as the Youth Funds under the tenure of Kasukuwere have been accused by many critics as being too partisan and Zanu-PF oriented and they failed to speak to the problems being faced by the young people in marginalized areas. Young people mostly in Masvingo and all the Matebeleland provinces could not benefit from the Youth Fund under his stewardship.

We strongly believe though that a more youthful minister would have been an ideal candidate for this office, say someone whose is in his/her 40s since they really know what exactly the youth need We welcome the new minister and we hope he works expeditiously with Youth organizations and other stakeholders in general to repeal the Zimbabwe Youth Council Regulations (ZYC) Statutory Instrument 4/2013 (S1 4/2014) and reform the Zimbabwe Youth Council Act which is now out-dated and out-of line with the new constitution.

The Zimbabwe Youth Council SI 4/2013 is very retrogressive and as the minister assumes office we hope he moves with speed and repeal the instrument as it infringes the right to freedom of association of young women and men. The statutory Instrument makes it impossible for young women to organize against HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies and it robs young people by levying them when they are already poor, marginalized and unemployed e.g. Girl Guides with 10 000 members will have to pay ZYC $30 000 dollars or face closure.

Furthermore Youth Forum is concerned that the statutory instrument gives too much power to the ministry of youth to meddle, undermine and ban youth activities, initiatives and organizations and it also makes it impossible for young people to organize and participate in key national processes The new minister should also tackle the issue of unemployment which is one of the greatest challenges facing the youths in Zimbabwe. Youths must be empowered so as to reduce poverty and unemployment. The process of obtaining indigenization loans should be revised because youths find it difficult to obtain these loans. Youths in rural areas find it hard to get empowerment funds thus the minister must ensure that those youths also get these funds. Also the issue of gender equality is of great concern, a few women have managed to get the empowerment funds and some did not even apply due to lack of information, some do not even know what it’s all about hence awareness programs should be carried out so as to educate people about such programs hence empowerment of the girl child and equity is very important, girls have been side-lined in all aspects especially in the decision making processes.

As young people we want a Minister who is approachable and accessible and who is of a sober mind and honourable Francis Nhema seems to suits this description and we hope he will give us a listening ear and formulate programs and policies that speaks to the issues and challenges of young people. For about 13 years the way the minister has been visible and accessible to issues of environment is amazing and as young people we hope he will also do the same in his new cabinet portfolio.

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