BULAWAYO – Livingstone Dzikira, Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) director, came under fire at a youth conference for allegedly turning a government body into a Zanu PF project.
ZYC is a quasi-government institution which was established by an Act of Parliament to co-ordinate, supervise and foster activities of youth clubs, associations or organisations from grassroot to national level; facilitate youth participation in key national and international events to be the interface between the government and the youths.
“You are coming here to tell us about the government’s Youth Fund and that you have send some youths to China for skills training; but we know very well that people benefiting from these projects are from the ruling party (Zanu PF),” one youth said at the National Youth for Development Trust (NYDT) youth conference.
“We had some youths recently being asked to produce party cards by your officers. Why are you doing that?”
Another youth activist said: “Last month we visited your offices here in Bulawayo with project proposals, but your guys told us openly that to get the Youth Fund we have to be Zanu PF members. That is very bad because we are not politicians, we cannot be forced to join a political party in order to benefit from a government project.”
In response, Dzikira insisted that the disbursement of loans from the Youth Fund was transparent saying if there are youths who were not happy with ZYC operations, they should contact youth organisations working under the council to have their project proposals assessed.
“To say that only youths from a certain political party have benefited is wrong,” Dzikira said.
“This process is transparent and we already have names of youths from Bulawayo who have benefitted and if you want I will give the names to organisers of this conference.
“As youths, let us not just remain as critics, do not miss opportunities because you are not happy.
“Complain while you participate. If you guys are not happy with how ZYC handle your issues, then approach youth organisations like NYDT who will then forward your proposals to us.”
Dzikira blamed CABS for taking long to process Youth Fund loans after project proposal assessment by ZYC.