BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
GOVERNMENT has failed to formulate policies that address the high unemployment rate among the youth, while political inequalities in the country have barred young people from participating in democratic governance, a local research think –tank has said.
This was revealed in a recent report titled Voice or Anomie? A brief look at active citizenship among the youth in Zimbabwe produced by the Research and Advocate Unit (RAU).
RAU said it was imperative to ensure youth participation in governance issues in order to promote a functional democracy.
“While it is desirable that individuals exercise their democratic rights, including freedom of expression, and voting in democratic elections through which citizens get an opportunity to remove non-performing representatives from office, realities on the ground point to a different situation,” RAU
“The government is out of touch with the challenges facing the youth such as high unemployment, collapsing industry, a dense vendor population among others.”
In 2018, government through the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry, under the National Youth Policy, attempted to mobilise financial resources for youth development and launched the Empower Bank to foster self-sustenance among the youth, but the programme fell short of expectation.
RAU noted that there has not been much effort to reduce the high unemployment rate, which has forced many youths into early marriages and drug trade in order to earn a living.
The RAU report also stated that due to their experiences with violence and repression, the youth were fearful of exercising their citizenship rights.
“Young men and women have to contend with multiple barriers to their active citizenship because of inadequate human capital investment and high unemployment rates among youth. Furthermore, evidence from literature shows that adverse inclusion of the youth in politics, political violence, and the marginalisation of the youth narrative is unhealthy for social cohesion.”
RAU urged authorities to come up with clearly defined policies on issues affecting the youth to enhance their full participation in the democratic space.
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