A national youth organization, WeLead, has called on parliament to introduce a quota system to absorb youths into decision-making and leadership positions.
Zimbabwe has a burgeoning youth population (15-40), but this is not reflected in positions of authority as the young are seen as cannon fodder during electioneering or send to do internships instead of getting leadership positions in the public offices.
WeLead programmes officer Maureen Gandiwa said they are advocating for the expansion of the youth quota system where youth are given the opportunity to occupy higher offices.
“We believe that the 10 seats that the youths occupy are not enough and thus should be increased because youths constitute the majority of the population in the country,” Gandiwa said.
A youth from Youth Advocacy Reforms Democracy (YARD) said despite the fact that the youth constitute 60,7% of the population; the youth has been manipulated by the political elite to perpetuate violent conflicts.
Zimbabwe’s youths constitute 67,7% of the population, but they have been manipulated by the political elite to perpetuate violent conflicts as youth are more susceptible to manipulation by both politicians and government.
He further stated that the government should consult youth for decision making and the youth should be included in parliament.
“The government should consult us in every aspect they do. They have to be accountable for everything not to be told that the government has done this and this without consulting us. We occupy more than 60% of the majority so why can’t we have 60% of the seats?” he queried.
Tatenda Dirikwe, a youth said, young women and men with disabilities should also represent their communities.
“Young women and men must be given the opportunity to present their communities because for us to have a better Zimbabwe we have to elect a candidate who is capable of leading the people of Zimbabwe,” said Dirikwe.
Lack of opportunities and shrinking civic space has characterised modern-day Zimbabwe, with young people bearing the brunt of economic collapse.
Despite the Constitution in section 20 mirroring the Africa Union Youth Framework that provides for the effective participation of youth in political, social, economic and cultural affairs of the country, the youth are still at the periphery of these spaces.
By Success Majaramhepo