By Mark Matambirofa
National Association of Youth Organisations (NAYO) director Misheck Gondo says even though youths constitute the majority in Zimbabwe there is however no support for them to participate fully in politics.
Currently, there are only a handful of youths who have made it into Parliament despite the constitution putting very minimum requirements.
Even Minister of Youth Kirsty Coventry has done little herself to encourage youth participation in politics.
In an interview, Gondo said those currently leading in political parties and government are just afraid to give young people the opportunity to lead.
“In my opinion, there is no adequate support of the youths by the government and there is also fear by those in power to give young people a chance to lead and change the existing political and economic situation.
“It’s also a cultural assumption that youths must wait for their time which hinders youth acceptance as a force that can add to politics and economic reforms.
“Youths need to participate just like what happened in the liberation struggle, youths need to involve themselves in politics and issues affecting them,” he said.
Gondo added that his organisation (NAYO) is making efforts to engage and encourage young people to participate under the campaign dubbed “LeaveNoYouthBehind.
According to Gondo, even though young people are no violent in themselves, issues of poverty and lack of opportunities have resulted in them being disempowered through manipulation by crafty politicians.
“Political manipulation disempowers young people and results in them participating in things that benefit certain individuals or political parties.
“Youths are not violence but if they do not afford transport, health care and education they will be manipulated by politicians so that they will earn money by perpetuating other people’s interests.
“There is a need for political awareness through civil and political education for the youths,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue Glen View South legislator Vincent Tsvangirai acknowledged the difficult environment for youths but added that youths should not wait to be given opportunities but must take them by making their voices heard.
“Young people should not wait for someone to represent them but rather make themselves the voices of their challenges in politics; they must keep on making noise and making demands that will change the dynamics of politics in the country
“There is little monetary fund dedicated to development and empowerment of young people in the budget and this plays a negative role in promoting projects and activities that will reach out to young people in the country,” he said.