Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Unemployment challenge for the Zim youths

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.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Zimbabwean Youths as Pawns in the political warfare

As youths we are pawns in the political field. We form 60% of the voting electorate yet we are hardly represented in parliament and government. There has been so much advocacy for women representation in government, i.e. in parliament and cabinet and the political parties have heeded this call with increased number of women in government, with Vice President Joice Mujuru and Deputy Prime Minister Khupe being the leading examples. What the politicians have failed is to increase the number of youths in government and this is one of the biggest challenges we are facing because without one of our own in government, our views can never really be represented.
Political parties take advantage of the challenges facing the youths, chiefly that of unemployment and use it against us. A perfect example is that of Chipangano in Mbare. Luring the youths with incentives such as a low allowance, most youths facing financial problems will do anything even for a tiny allowance. The ZANU PF sponsored Chipangano in Mbare has coerced and forced the youths to join them in their violent paths as they are left with no choice. They are promised cash allowances and most of them use it to buy drugs and toxic spirits such ZED as a way of boosting their confidence when terrorizing civilians in Mbare and surrounding areas in Harare.
The problem is that the youths are being forced to play the role of the pawn, play the dirty work whilst the politicians are in their offices. As pawns we are forced to protect the “king”  by all means even if it means resorting to all the unorthodox methods. Zimbabwe is by far a peaceful country but some of these youth leaders become overzealous thinking that violence will bring forth with it success. The youths in Mbare have been playing the part of the pawn for a while yet their “king” keeps on finding better opponents. Cde Savandhu should know better having seen his fortunes dwindle because his pawns have not done a good job of protecting their king.
As leaders these politicians should know better and start from the front and condemn violence and should further set the example. When the Human Rights Bill was being deliberated in Parliament, the president was at the forefront of condemning violence yet outside the building overzealous Chipangano were busy terrorizing people outside parliament building. As if that was not enough ZANU PF youths attacked and clashed with MDC-T youths at a rally for the MDC-T in Chitungwiza with senior ZANU PF officials being fingered in the plans to cause chaos. What is surprising is that whilst the GPA leaders might go on TV denouncing violence, the problems that need to be addressed are there within their parties because as leaders they are largely expected to say certain things but the problems are there within their own parties through their youth leaders.
We can thus never really move forward for as long as these youth leaders and senior party officials continue to promote their cause through violence. It is not even helping when some in ZANU PF say that they will continue to support Chipangano yet perennial Mbare constituency candidate Cde Tendai Savanhu continues to deny the existence of this youth militant group. What this does is that it does not help the cause of preventing violence because the youths will continue to be used as scapegoats to play the role of the pawn, as the face of violence for them. With threats to their families as well as their well being, youths are left with no option but to go on with whatever they are told to do.
ZANU PF has thus taken the role of coercion and force to a whole new level. Youths are forced to go knock door to door into people’s houses forcing them to come to ZANU PF rallies and functions. ZANU PF wants to create an image to everyone that they are a well oiled machine giving back to the people yet this is to the contrary. In the recent ant-Sanctions petition, they knew they would not get the numbers they wanted for their project. Youths terrorized people in town forcing them to close their shops and stop whatever they were doing so as to attend the signing on ceremony at ZANU PF headquarters. People were driven in trucks from their villages to come and sign the petitions without even their consent all for the sake of maintaining a fake image. That is not what the people want and that is by far not the role the youths want to play when we say we need a political role.
Why take advantage of the youths? We are by far the most important group in the population, the most important group of the electorate. What politicians forget is that a youth movement may as well play a determinant role when it comes to elections. Our interests are hardly being addressed yet we are the pawns in the game. We are the ones that necessitate their political paths yet our political interests are not being addressed. We need leaders that understand that the views of the youths have to be attended to. The truth is that we cannot continue playing the role of the pawn forever. There would be a time when some of us will make the journey across the board from being a mere king to a “queen”, a “bishop” and even starting the game as the king. Politicians have to understand that as kings they cannot go anywhere without their pawns and they need a strategy. They need to understand that they cannot play chess with draft tactics, they will not win because their pawn will be crashed in no time. What they need is a strategy, a formula where they make everyone happy and not use us as tools for their dirty work. They are the ones who more or less got the country into the situation that it is in and thus there is need for them to pull it out and as youths we need to play our part for our country because the day of being nothing but a mere pawn has to end.
David T. Hwangwa writing in his own personal capacity. He can be contacted on