From Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
YOUTHS in Victoria Falls have implored Government to ensure youth funds are equally distributed to the country’s ten provinces.
The youths also called for an investigation of the beneficiaries of the $10 million loan facility availed by Government in 2011 through the Ukondla/Kurera Fund as they suspect that most of the beneficiairies were either relatives or close cronies of politicians.
This comes after reports that Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces have the least number of beneficiaries while Harare, Manicaland and Mashonaland Central had the lion’s share.
A hearing conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Youth Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment here yesterday turned emotional as Victoria Falls youths complained that they were being sidelined.
They said only 15 youths benefited from the resort town as most applications were rejected.
It emerged at the meeting that most youths in Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South had applied for loans to start cross border trading businesses which were rejected by financial institutions administering the fund.
Making contributions at the meeting at Chinotimba Hall, most youths said they were not aware of the scheme.
Others alleged that there was nepotism and corruption in the disbursement of funds as many had their proposals rejected.
“We were in this hall when we presented ourselves to Minister Kasukuwere (Saviour, then Minister of Youth) and when we were supposed to provide our details, he was hijacked by some leaders and we all lost out,” said Mr Trymore Ndolo.
Mr Blessing Nyagwaya, a local youth, said they felt let down by their leaders.
“Do we still have an opportunity to get these loans or we have been overtaken by events because we have been applying and now we are old. We are tired of applying every year and not getting anything and we wonder now if what we are saying here is for our benefit or its now for our children,” he said.
Another participant added: “We didn’t benefit from this fund and if you check, those few names you have from Victoria Falls are close to powerful individuals. We don’t even know the mechanisms that were used to publicise the funds because many don’t even know about it.”