A MATABELELAND South youth empowerment group has petitioned Parliament and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office, demanding that youth participation and engagement be institutionalised to combat the marginalisation of the young.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Community Youth for Development Trust (CYDT) expressed concern over what it described as the deliberate sidelining of young people in decision-making processes, adding the “marginalisation of the youths is worrisome, hence needs to be tackled head-on”.
The youth empowerment organisation cited section 20(b) of the Constitution, which gives youths an opportunity to associate and to be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life.
“This is enough in giving young women and men opportunity to actively and effectively play a part in the democratic life of the country.
“As such, in order to achieve a healthy, participative and strong governmental system, a proper consideration of youth issues has to be put in place — youths have to be represented in the highest decision-making bodies and chosen on merit not on political expediency,” the CYDT petition, signed by the organisation’s co-ordinator Sichasisile Ndlovu, read.
“We also demand that youth participation and engagement be institutionalised, so that young people can access proper and uncensored information about democracy, human rights and how to participate in society anytime from the government itself.”
Young people in various political parties have been pushing for a youth quota in the selection of parliamentary candidates.
Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu has already said it is adopting the youth quota system in its candidate selection process, arguing the future belongs to them.
Other political parties are yet to release their templates for candidate selection, while reports say the ruling Zanu PF will impose age restrictions when it conducts primary elections.
“We demand that the government of the day be in constant touch/ consultation/engagement with the youth across the country through available technological means. We believe that young people are major components of the society and are crucial actors in the process of building their future.”