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Youth exclusion, unemployment cause for concern

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THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has raised concerns over the exclusion of youths in economic policy making, high levels of unemployment and participation of the youth in undignified jobs in the informal economy.

On Friday, youths celebrated the annual National Youth Day, but representation in influential positions, including the Executive, remains a pipe dream.

In a statement, Zimcodd said the lack of self-representation by youth in decision-making institutions to determine the economic trajectory that improves their present living conditions remains cause for concern.

“The causes for concern also include the high unemployment rate and the participation of the youth in undignified jobs in the informal economy such as the artisanal and small-scale mining which ended up having youth being involved in the violent machete wars amongst themselves and in their communities.

“The skewed nature of the economy where the ruling elites and beneficiaries of a patronage system tend to benefit from economic empowerment initiatives at the expense of the majority of the youths evidenced in presidential scholarships, land distribution, housing, employment, business, loans and other government-funded initiatives, is a cause for concern,” Zimcodd said.

Meanwhile, universities and colleges annually churn out around 300 000 graduates that fail to secure jobs as the country’s struggling economy barely absorbs enough young job seekers.

“The continuous churning out of graduates from colleges and universities without matching resuscitation of the industry or education that is well-suited for current conditions to create entrepreneurs and jobs is also a cause for concern.

“The systematic exclusion and disenfranchisement of youths in the country’s national political processes like elections for them to occupy influential positions and the continuous manipulation of youth by politicians to settle their political scores,” the economic justice watchdog added.

While government has been mulling the Youth Quota proportional representation in Parliament as proposed in the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2 of 2019, Zimcodd said the intervention remains a piecemeal redress of the problem.

“For equal youth representation in national elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) must apply the progressive provisions already in the Constitution to ensure a level playing field for youths to actively participate. This must include the creation of safe political spaces for youth participation, especially young women.

“The Parliament of Zimbabwe must enact laws to fully operationalise and protect the Constitution so that it’s not tempered with at any time.

“Youth must capitalise on their demographic advantage, join forces and speak with one voice as a youth movement towards building a better Zimbabwe by shunning violence even in the face of structural provocation caused by the current economic challenges,” Zimcodd said.

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