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Report on Gweru public meeting: The current Zimbabwean crisis: Towards a youth centred approach
Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ)
May 02, 2007

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The report covers the proceedings of an SCMZ public meeting held from 1700hrs to 1900hrs on the 27th of April 2007 at the YWCA Hostels in Mkoba, Gweru. The public meeting drew seventy three participants from unemployed youth residents of Mkoba. The topic was;

The current Zimbabwean crisis: Towards a youth centred approach

1. Lawrence Mashungu (SCMZ National Vice Chairperson)
2. Samuel Mangoma (ZINASU Finance Secretary)
3. Tedious Chimombe (MDC Midlands Province National Youth Representative)

Tafadzwa Mukandi (SCMZ)

Meeting objectives

  • To gather the level of understanding on the current crisis by the youths at the grassroots.
  • To promote and conscientise young grassroots people to participate in the resolution of the current crisis.
  • To raise awareness, conceptualization and understanding on contemporary national issues.
  • To provide young females and males with a platform for participation without marginalization
  • To strengthen solidarity links between SCMZ and other pro-democracy forces and foster the concept of a coordinated resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis.

The meeting started with some devotions led by Brian Matanda and Fortune both from SCMZ's Gweru branch. This was followed by presentations from panelists;

Samuel Mangoma
He divided the current Zimbabwean crisis into three categories;

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Social

Political crisis
Mangoma defined the political crisis as having emanated from a political leadership that has abdicated its duties. Whilst the current national leadership can be credited with spearheading the liberation struggle which saved the nation from colonial chains, according to Mangoma they have long since detracted from the original principles of the liberation struggle. In his words it's a revolution that has lost its course. The political crisis is manifesting itself through constitutional crisis and political violence. For him there was need to really intensify pressure on the government for constitutional change. Political violence, he said is also one of the key manifestations of a political crisis. Mangoma challenged young people to open the Pandora's Box and expose the top officials who are instigating violence and abuse of young people.

Economic crisis
On the economic front, Mangoma touched on the proposed social contract between government, labour and business. For him the contract is a non event because there was no involvement of youths and it is meant to further marginalize young people. The economic meltdown according to Mangoma was directly linked to the political crisis and as such he challenged young people to seek political change first and then economic salvation after.

Social crisis
On the social aspect he centred on the two issues of HIV and AIDS and the shrinking academic rights due to political polarization and the economic meltdown. He urged the youth to explore the link between HIV and AIDS and the structure of poverty, were he said most young people are mainly affected because of their being poverty stricken. Mangoma lamented the collapse of the education sector in the country due to the introduction of exorbitant and segregatory fees structures which has made education particularly at tertiary level a sole privilege for the rich elite.

Mangoma concluded his presentation by articulating that it is very difficult to deal with the three aspects of the crisis separately since they are interconnected and for him the greatest challenge was the political crisis which he said is the direct cause for economic and social crisis. He urged young people to take a centre stage in the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.

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