Zimbabwe has over the last decade been at the summit when it comes to literacy levels in Africa and still continues to churn out thousands of world class graduates every year. Every year each prospective graduate is full of optimism of graduating, being capped by the president, being called a graduate, getting a job and contributing to their country’s development but that optimism is soon replaced by heartache because our industry and economy cannot offer them anything. The biggest challenge that the youth are facing is that of unemployment. With more than 90% unemployment rate, it means that only a fraction of the estimated 12 million people is employed, roughly over a million if we are to go with the estimates. Every year, close to more than 5 000 people graduate in Zimbabwe, from state universities, poly techs, nursing school, teachers colleges, apprenticeships to name but a few and all these people are expecting to be part of that 10%.
The Zimbabwean economy continues to grow at a painfully slow rate. Things have gotten better in the country but people continue to struggle for a decent living. Wages and salaries continue to be stagnant and despite the cries from the people salary raises continue to be a pipedream. The President has on many occasions called for all our foreign graduates to come home and contribute to the building of our economy and resuscitating our country’s fortunes. Locally we have thousands graduating from high schools and universities and already the country cannot support all these graduates and apart from all those foreign graduates the president is calling on, we have thousands more from his Presidential scholarship from all the major universities in South Africa coming back as well to scavenge for the little resources that are already exhausted. I wonder where the learned President of the Republic of Zimbabwe want all those professionals earning a decent living overseas, want to put them when the local professionals here have nothing. Does he want them to contribute to the unemployment rate. There is need for him to create job opportunities for us here in Zimbabwe before calling on all those foreign graduates. As a graduate myself who is unemployed I believe the president should work on making me and the rest of the other graduates happy by giving us jobs.
In developed countries, even in some African countries it is unheard of for graduates to go for prolonged periods of time unemployed but for our beloved country, you might as well bury the certificates because they might not get used in a very long time because there is nowhere to use them for. Most youths will regard the four years they spent studying for a degree, for that diploma, for that profession as a waste because most people usually end up in trades that have nothing to do with what they studied for just to make ends meet. We have seen people with a professional qualification swallowing their pride to do menial jobs. We have seen most youths editing their CVs removing their degrees so as to get a job because most companies will not employ a graduate with a degree for a menial job. Thus, most youths in our country are certificate holders yet they are not doing what they went to school for all for the sake of making ends meet.
What the youths need is a government that gives them a guarantee that there will be jobs. Jacob Zuma promised to get 500 000 jobs for his people after a certain period. At least people can hope. The ZANU PF government engages in policies that are killing the economy where most people see the only alternative as going overseas. The ZANU PF government destroyed our economy with their guerrilla policies of how to run the economy, running it down and destroying the industry, effectively destroying the source of employment for the majority of the people. I want a government that provides a guarantee and an effective plan and policy of providing for jobs. The Ministry of Finance continues to freeze out jobs in the public sector effectively rendering all the graduates jobless because the government is the biggest employer in the country yet they are failing to provide us with employment, yet the president is calling on graduates to come home. To work where Mr. President if I may ask?
What we need is a treasury that is able to support the populace through the provision of releasing funds and unfreezing jobs in the civil service. The treasury has to release funds to bail out the industries so that the youths get employed. Zimbabwe is becoming centralized with everything being reduced to Harare. This is a sad reality particularly for the other youths based in other parts of the country. It is even sad for those in Bulawayo as most industries there are relocating to Harare. Prof. Welshman Ncube, what are you doing? Lobby the Finance Ministry to bail out Bulawayo because as youths we are seeing our dreams disappear in front of us because we cannot get jobs.
Unemployment is a bigger challenge to us the youths and there is need for these politicians to walk their talk because the time has come where we will not tolerate their improbable plans for us because we need something to look forward to for tomorrow.