BY OBEY MANAYITI
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday warned youths against being pushed into destructive behaviour because of the economic challenges facing the country, and instead, urged them to play an active role in turning around the fortunes of the country.
Addressing a youth indaba in Harare, where he had an opportunity to interface with young people, Mnangagwa said his government remained concerned about the social ills and the welfare of unemployed youths.
“We will continue to increase the social safety nets for you as our economy improves.
You must cease to indulge in substance abuse as they do not only ruin, but destroys your future and that of the next generations,” he said.
“I encourage you to be wary of some elements in our society who may want to abuse and manipulate the present economic situation for their sinister motives.”
Thousands of youths were in January at the forefront during protests against fuel price hikes and other economic ills which later turned violent, resulting in the death of 18 people at the hands of soldiers and police officers deployed to suppress the demonstrations.
Mnangagwa said there were plans to introduce incubation hubs to support business ideas as well as revamp vocational training centres.
“In relation to education and skills development, I challenge you to be more results-oriented and acquire transformative education. It is only through such functional education that you will be able to create jobs and generate wealth from your academic accomplishments,” he said.
“From that end, education must adapt to the revolving trends to fuel the natural passion and genius of young learners towards our development paradigm.”
Several youths pressed Mnangagwa to reveal how his government was working to change the face of the economy and how he intended to support young entrepreneurs.
Others said they wanted to participate in government tenders, while those living with disabilities said they needed a quota to guarantee their participation in all facets of the economy.
Mnangagwa said youths should equip themselves with critical skills, as well as take advantage of the recent tri-national engagements among Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana.
He said Zimbabwe was not an island, hence, people must develop business ideas, products and markets that would give solutions to the realities and needs of the continent.
On the land issue, he said it would be easy for government to respond and act if youths formed consortiums, while on tenders he said where there was capacity, they would award the land to youths.