Bulawayo-based teenager Nhlanhla Moyo of Hamilton High School was elected Zimbabwe’s Child President on Thursday after outpolling nine candidates at the Harare Institute of Technology.
Moyo takes over the Presidency from Ntandoyenkosi Moyo, whose one-year term ended on the same day.
The elections were held under this year’s Day of the African Child theme, Child friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Africa.
In an interview with NewsDay soon after the elections, Moyo said he was dedicated to work for the development and better future of the children.
“It is a great honour to represent Zimbabwean children and I promise that I will be committed to work towards advocating for their rights as well as alleviating the plight of underprivileged children across the country,” Moyo said.
Ten junior governors from each province were competing for the junior presidency post which was tightly contested in an election that only junior parliamentarians were the electorate.
Moyo garnered 44 votes to beat the other nine candidates who became members of the Cabinet.
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The newly-elected child executive is made up of Horiro Melisa as the Child Speaker of Parliament; First Vice-President is Chizanga Nyasha, Leslie Qedani as the Senior minister of State Affairs while the portfolio committee chairpersons are Kundai Nobela, Fanuel Richard Masiya, Hilton Liwanda, Kelvin Mafurendi, Nyasha Charinya and Anna Magocha as the President of the Senate.
The swearing-in ceremony is on today at the same time with the official opening of the 22nd session of the Children’s Parliamentwhere President Robert Mugabe will be the guest of honour.
The Zimbabwe Junior Parliament which mirrors the National Parliament set-up where every constituency in the country has a child parliamentarian representative was established in 1991 as a way of commemorating the Day of the African Child on June 16 each year.
The programme allows children to participate in the national agenda, while addressing concerns affecting children in Zimbabwe. Today the Junior Parliament and the nation will also be belatedly celebrating the Day of the African Child.
The Day of the African Child came into being following a declaration by the African Union Heads of State as an important day in commemoration of the 1976 protests by schoolchildren in Soweto, South Africa.
The students protested against an education system designed to further the purposes of the apartheid regime. The brutal response of the apartheid security agencies to the unarmed students’ protests resulted in the death of a number of children.
The 1976 protests contributed greatly to the eventual collapse of the apartheid regime. In 1991, the African Union Assembly passed a resolution designating June 16 as a day for the celebration of the African child.