YOUNG people are very impressionable.
They learn the good or the bad, the acceptable or the objectionable, the excellent or the abhorrent from adults.
The saying “Like father, like son”, aptly captures this, meaning a son’s character or behaviour can be expected to resemble that of his father. And youngsters are quick learners because of youthful over-enthusiasm. They will make sure that they don’t miss a thing.
So, it was not surprising, but disappointing, to read a report in yesterday’s issue of NewsDay that youths have jumped on the bandwagon of corruption.
It’s not surprising that they have cottoned onto these bad habits. Corruption has spread like wildfire.
We are teaching youths the wrong values. That you can lie, cheat and bribe your way to the top. That diligence and conscientiousness are of no value whatsoever.
The report, under the headline Corrupt youths buy drivers’ licences, exam passes, revealed that youths in Zimbabwe are involved in corruption to the extent of paying bribes to get licences, degrees and other basic services which are their constitutional right such as being issued passports.
“Some of the students interviewed said there were degrees which they termed ‘STDs’ (sexually transmitted degrees) because some unscrupulous lecturers sexually manipulated girls to make them pass even if they were academically challenged,” the report read.
It’s now a society of chancers and masqueraders, made worse by the recent controversy over PhDs being awarded on alleged grounds of being highly connected instead of on meritorious
This is what Zimbabwe has become. This is worlds away from the puritan mantras of scientific socialism which the nation was being fed on in the years soon after independence.
Some of the young people of today know nothing about the good values of honesty and hard work because they have not seen such since they were born.
What they see most of the time is patronage, especially of the political kind. What many of them are familiar with is pulling strings.
The gravy train is now rolling and ruling, with young people enmeshed in activities with sources of income that require little effort while yielding considerable profit; that do not add anything to the productive value chain.
This handing-over of corruption is a shameful bequeathment to future generations.
Youths should have a bequeathment/ilifa/nhaka of respect for hard work, honesty and integrity, but there are hardly any role models for them.
Can you really blame them? No!
The blame lies squarely on those corrupting them with power and money.