By MUNYARADZI ZINDI CHIKOMBA
Outlook of the Zimbabwean youth.
Having said earlier that the constitution clearly puts a benchmark on the age 15-35, this alone should be a wake up call in our day-to-day affairs on how we do our things especially in the nomination and selection processes in choosing leaders and representation for the youth. Why do we need to be careful because someone who isn’t within this age range does not understand the youth and he /she does not fully represent our interests because they don’t understand us. The youth is claimed to be approximately 65%-68% of the total population in the Zimbabwe. According to the statistics which was provided by the Human Development Report in 2013 it states that Zimbabwe is a youthful country, with approximately 67.7 per cent of its 13 million total Populations under the age of 35. Annual population growth rate Estimates a range from 2.4 to 3 percent, and projections indicate a population of 23 Million by 2030. With this growth its means by 2030 we are going to have about 14-16 million young people in Zimbabwe. The youth in Zimbabwe is very literate and the government claims that the literate rate among the youth is about 99% if not 100%. However literacy alone isn’t enough because literacy without skills is meaniless, I was surprised to find that the skills rate in Zimbabwe is less than 50% that’s according to the African development bank statistics of 2018.
Responsibility and role of the youth in national building.
The direction in which a nation takes is defined by the decisions and the abilities of the youth. If we do not have a sound and responsible youth we are likely to have a future crisis because in 10 years to come the current youth is going to be inthe influential positions in almost every sector and they will continue with what they know best. So our call is to build a youth that is driven by ethics and responsibility. The youth should be at the forefront in leading the most critical issues in a nation because they have to decide what they need to see in the future. Giving someone who is not a youth this responsibility is day light robbery. This is not a call to abandon the elderly and those who have passed the youth phase and I am not trying to say we don’t want to be lead however when we are lead with respect and tolerance towards our aspirations we are likely to behave in a respectable manner. The youth sometimes doesn’t need these big positions and material things that you try to lure them with they just need places where they can freely express themselves, their talents and innovate whilst they are lead- Professor Lumumba
The youth should be given platforms where they can fully participate in national building and development, there has been a great initiative called the National Youth Service which has done a great job in training the youth to do various volunteering services to the nation. However these initiatives end up being used for political mileage which is not good for us the youth and the nation at large. We need more clubs and associations which play a pivotal role in planning such causes which benefit the nation.
The youth in Zimbabwe are hardworking and they love their country so much all they need is someone who understands them and gather them for a common cause. Many organizations and associations have been in the drive to offer solutions in national building however funding and politicking are the major setbacks to these aspiring young people who are taking the leading role in national building. The 2014 estimates of expenditure lists the budget for the Ministry of Youth, Indigenization and Economic Empowerment as USD 44.5 million (figures given in USD only). However, there is no specific breakdown for youth expenditure this shows how incompetent our structures are. I believe that there is more room for improvement in the role being played by the government in assisting the youth in their quest for national building and branding.