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Youths snub outreach meetings

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A paltry 22,5% of youths nationwide reportedly attended the constitution-making process outreach meetings, despite the youths forming 66% of the country’s total population.

The National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) revealed the statistics, which they said were of major concern.

“As a youth-centred organisation, we are concerned about the limited participation of youths in the constitution-making process,” said NYDT’s information officer, Sibusisiwe Ndlovu.

“According to reports from the Constitution Select Committee (Copac), only 22,58 % of youths participated in the process.

“This is incredibly low in view of the fact that youths make up about 66% of the country’s total population.”
NYDT said provincial statistics on the participation of youth in the constitution-making process revealed in Bulawayo 2 611 out of 11 556 youths attended the outreach meetings.

In Matabeleland South, only 7 000 out of 48 000 youths participated in the outreach process. “In essence these statistics show that in the above provinces, less that 10% of youths managed to air their opinion during the collation stages,” said NYDT.
Copac co-chairperson Edward Mkhosi confirmed the statistics on Thursday in Bulawayo at a meeting held by NYDT.

“I can confirm that only 22,5% of the country’s youths attended outreach meetings of the constitution-making process,” he said.

“This figure is extremely disheartening because the end product of this process also affects youths one way or the other.”

The youth organisation said the timing of the Copac outreach stage contributed to the low turn-out of youths as it took place when universities and colleges were open.

“As a result, most youths did not have the opportunity to offer their input in the drafting of the constitution,” said Ndlovu.

The previous constitution-making process was carried out in 2000.

“Amongst the positives of the 2000 process was the effort made to include the participation of youths as evidenced by consultations in schools, colleges, universities, churches and some youth centres,” she said.

The youth organisation said youths still had an opportunity to ensure that they meaningfully influence the remaining stages of the constitution-making process.

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