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Pupurai Togarepi Youth Matters
ELECTIONS have come and gone and remarkably Zimbabwean youths participated in large numbers to shape their future, something we, as the Zanu-PF Youth League, believe is testimony to the fact that we are up there on governance and national issues.
Our leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, won resoundingly and went on to assemble a team that we are positive is going to make Zimbabwe shine. It was victory for Zanu-PF as well as the majority of the youths. In any revolution the youths are always the backbone of such a revolution and the Zanu-PF youths are no exception. As the ruling party our focus must remain national in nature.
The outlook is brighter, economic growth projections are positive, we are now entering the proverbial darkest hour that comes just before dawn and soon we will reap the results of our patience and hard work. President Mnangagwa is implementing reforms across all sectors of the economy. Reforms mean literally biting the bullet. Reforms mean tightening belts and cutting all the lavish lifestyles of the past regime. Reforms mean all hands on the deck. Reforms will also mean zero tolerance to corruption. Reforms mean political will to change things that were untouchable in the previous regime. That is what our President is doing and we are strongly behind him.
I joined Zanu-PF as a young man and have been in the party since then but I had never witnessed the pulsating growth and sense of duty that most of our leaders under the servant leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa are showing. President Mnangagwa’s life epitomises the revolution from the time he was a member of the Zanu-PF Youth League in the 1960s to date.
According to ZimStat, in 2012 Zimbabwe had a young population. Of the total population of 13 061 239, seventy-seven percent consisted of children and youths below 35 years of age. Youths aged 15-34 years number 4 702 046, which constitutes 36 percent of the national population and those aged between 15-24 years total 20 percent.
This should inform the policymakers that more resources should be allocated to that critical sector which requires mentoring, jobs and access to new and emerging technologies. We would want to create our own scientists and scholars among the youths through equipping them with the right tools, a case in point is the recent graduation at the Harare Institute of Technology where it was announced that young people had come up with brilliant innovations. The fact that HIT is incubating several start-up projects which should inspire other colleges to come up with similar projects and as the Youth League of Zanu-PF we stand ready to assist and promote such home-grown ideas.
HIT has interesting start-up projects such as the Power Team Technologies and Lads (Private) Limited, two entities that could transform our country if adequately supported. We know the youths of today are faced with challenges such as accessing college because sometimes astronomically high tuition fees and as such we are going to continue engaging the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to ensure that school grants are returned so as to ensure that no student is deprived because of financial circumstances. Through this platform, we seek to exchange, incubate and develop ideas so that the lives of the young people are transformed in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, which is to make Zimbabwe a middle income economy by that time.
We hope to engage in frank debate and to listen to divergent views using this platform in a constructive manner. The Youth League reaches out to every Zimbabwean child to be proud of the nation and to put shoulders to the wheel in developing this nation.
To quote President Mnangagwa: “The 20 years that we lost while other nations were developing, we would want to leapfrog and jump to catch up with other nations in the region and other African countries and beyond.” And that we can do if we work as a collective in a nursery of ideas where dreams are transformed into reality.
Our hand is outstretched to young people across the country, of all races, gender and convictions that let us work together to rebuild this nation so that we develop it to its potential. We are aware of the challenges ahead and we by no means underestimate them, we appreciate the shortages of basic commodities caused by hoarding and unscrupulous business elements. We are cognisant of the high numbers of unemployment and the many challenges that youths face daily. However, we do not believe that anyone other than ourselves has the panacea to the present problems.
As the Zanu-PF Youth League, we are not against anyone but we find it unpatriotic that they are some parties that believe sanctions, that are hurting the country’s re-engagement process, should stay on apparently blind to the dire effects that these unjustified measures have done to Zimbabwe.
As the youths of the ruling party we would like to lead by example; that is why we are proponents of empowerment and self-employment and, of course, patriotism. This platform is to engage in a patriotic and brotherly manner so that together we can go far and beyond. It is critical that we create jobs for our people but then we do not want to be employed but rather to be the employers, that is why we put emphasis on producing employers instead of would-be employees. What we need are graduates who will take the initiative and become successful entrepreneurs, develop into billionaires in a country that has all the ingredients for success.
Our President is on record as saying he wants to create millionaires in Zimbabwe and as the Youth League we know the appropriate vehicle and avenue that will make that vision real. Zimbabwe is endowed with 98 percent of the known minerals in the world. We have the capacity and what we just need are daring youths who will put foot on the pedal and push the development agenda to help realise this dream.
But that cannot be done with a mind-set that believes in being employed by someone, that can only be done if we have the right mindset that believes in creating and enabling the achievements of a dream. We do not need to be preoccupied with getting employment but rather seizing the low hanging fruits that we have been given by our leadership.
Youths, as you may know, are set to benefit from the downsizing of farms and we also want opportunities in mining and other initiatives that are abundant in the country. There are fisheries in Tugwi-Mukosi, there is the tantalising prospect of getting gas in the Muzarabani basin, the transport sector is presently run by foreigners, and youths in partnership with other investors have the opportunity to bring sanity in our towns.
The opportunities for the youths are numerous and there for all to capture, Zimbabwe is a young country and as the Youth League our pledge is simple, to ensure that youths who constitute over 60 percent of the population get a bite of the cherry.