THE Zanu PF youth conference to be held this week will help consolidate unity and democracy within the party, while serving as a cornerstone for the rejuvenation, modernization and growth of the party.
The last elective conference was held in 2014 and was won by Cde Kudzanai Chipanga as Assistant Secretary for Youth Affairs, with the current executive having been co-opted following the events of 2017. most current executives above the age limit. President Mnangagwa, who is the first secretary of the party, insisted that the youth league be made up of young people under 35 to ensure that the interests of young people are represented. Our Senior Reporter Joseph Madzimure (JM) met with the Acting Deputy Secretary of Zanu PF. for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau (TC) to give an overview of the 7th Congress of the Youth League.
JM: What are your expectations of the newly elected Youth League executive candidates?
TC: The most important thing is to stay committed and to respect the values and philosophy of the party, which has a history of the liberation struggle. Remember that most of us were born after independence. This party we are talking about is a revolutionary party which was founded on the premises of Unity, Peace and Development. It aims to ensure that the voice of indigenous peoples is heard and that control of our God-given resources is in the hands of the black majority. I expect them to have sacrosanct values and adopt the ideological framework that has been established by His Excellency President Mnangagwa who is the First Secretary of the party. There are three critical issues that the youth league needs to look at, access to resources, skills development issues, uptake of skills by leveraging the skills provided in our higher education institutions, a particular role in the mobilization of 5 million votes for the harmonized elections of 2023.
JM: How is this going to be done?
TC: The Youth League should ensure to promote young people who have skills, to transmit the required skills that the country needs. They also make sure to fight all the wanderers who are against the dictates of this country.
JM: Are some young people abusing drugs now? In your opinion, what should be done to stop this practice?
TC: The drug issue is a national problem that requires urgent attention from all stakeholders. The new executive must play a central role in ensuring that there is a drastic policy formulation. We are satisfied with the drug policy that has been put in place to guarantee the fight against the pandemic.
There is a need to align a number of programs to educate young people about the dangers associated with drugs. One of the policy interventions is to include drug abuse issues in the curriculum, from primary to higher education. There is a need to consider policy intervention and increase recreational facilities for young people to have sports activities that will keep them busy in their free time.
This is unfortunate in most urban areas where opposition-led councils have turned leisure centers into housing.
Recreation centers are owned by the community. These are areas where young people spend most of their time playing. Urban and rural councils must ensure that they have land for recreational facilities.
JM: Corporal punishment was generally used as a disciplinary measure for bad behavior in Zimbabwe before it was banned in 2017 by a High Court ruling which declared section 60(2)(c) of the unconstitutional education. Do you think corporal punishment is necessary to impose discipline on young people?
TC: It’s up to lawmakers to weigh the pros and cons, it’s a two-way street. Some people abused corporal punishment, thus abusing children at home and at school. Nowadays it worked because it was meant to enforce discipline. We need to review the law. Discipline begins within the established family.
JM: In terms of gender, are you satisfied with the number of women who have been elected to the Youth League, if not how can the representation of women be improved?
TC: The party constitution requires equal representation of men and women in all positions. Of the 40 nominees, we have 12 young women. This means that women have been included.
We are happy with that and wish we could have more women. Women must also compete for positions with their male counterparts, although we have granted a special waiver in which we say that certain seats should be reserved for women. Of the four in each province, one should be a girl. In Masvingo you can see that there are two women. Mashonaland East also has two women. Positions are obtained on merit and not just on the basis of gender.
JM: Do we have any prospects of having a girl as under-secretary for youth.
TC: I’m not sure yet. They will express their willingness to compete for the position through applications, but they must also challenge.
TC: It is clear, one of the roles of youth is to defend the ethos of the revolution.
Second, we need to make sure that we represent young people in all social policy spheres and that we also open up opportunities for young people, in other words, we say that we are advocates for youth empowerment. We are the advocate to ensure that we support and defend independence. These are some of the key roles we take on as a league of young revolutionaries. We also bring ideas for policy formulation, but guided by our constituents who guide us.
JM: Do young people have access to land?
TC: This is a political intervention, where the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development said that 20% of the land would be given to young people. It is now a matter of politics. We also requested that each land allocation committee be made up of a young person. This is slowly being implemented. Young people need land. We are happy to have succeeded in pushing this dynamic to empower our young people.
Thanks to the youth. It is now a matter of politics.
We also requested that each land allocation committee be made up of a young person. This is slowly being implemented. Young people need land. We are happy to have succeeded in pushing this dynamic to empower our young people.
JM: Thank you.