Home » General » Politics Shuns Young People [editorial]

THE ZANU-PF 6th People’s National Conference came with promises for big surprises yet there were no new revelations.

What Zimbabweans knew before the congress is what they left the congress knowing. President Robert Mugabe was declared as the party’s sole candidate for the 2018 national elections.

But where are the young people in all of this? Looking back to the 1970s and 1980s, one sees a vibrant youthful movement that was at the frontline to establish independence from colonialism. It is the same youth that went on to become today’s leaders, businessmen and women and academics. Most of the individuals who occupy Cabinet posts were in their late 20s and 30s in 1980 yet today young people have been shut out from effectively participating in the country’s national development.

One reader aptly puts it: “I was very disappointed with the just-ended ZANU-PF congress. We were promised fireworks but it all turned out to be nothing but an endorsement ceremony for the President. Here is my problem? Where are the young people in all of this? Why is it okay for Zimbabwe’s young people to remain perpetual cheerleaders and not be allowed to be active participants in the country’s national development? What has happened to the voice of the young? Why are they not visible in our politics?”

Zimbabwe’s politics has in the recent past been characterised by waves of violence and intimidation instigated by the country’s political leadership which is not doing enough to accommodate the youths. It is only when political rivals want their foes beaten that we find youths being supplied with T-shirts and cheap opaque beer. Yet, these young people ought to be working or in school.

Unemployment levels in Zimbabwe are currently estimated to be over 80 percent. Even though the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation promised to create two million jobs, the contrary is happening. Industry capacity is dwindling, while many companies are closing shop due to viability issues, a high tax regime and liquidity challenges.

It is a shame that young people have no voice of their own to articulate the many socio-economic issues affecting their future today. One would have expected to see more appointments of young people in the ZANU-PF Central Committee as an indication that the party is ready to meaningfully invest in the country’s future.

Sadly, our national political narrative lacks young participants. Youths are not there in the power structures. Why are the young people absent in politics? Where are they? If young people do not see the need to be active and address issues that affect them, who is going to do so on their behalf? Who will speak on their behalf when they cannot speak for themselves?

The legacy that the current leadership must leave is an enabling environment that nurtures Zimbabwe’s young people because the future of the country is in their hands.

Source : Financial Gazette