Youths in Bulawayo have implored the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts to ensure that the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) is apolitical so that all youths in the country benefit.
Speaking during a provincial National Youth Policy consultative stakeholders meeting at the Mhlahlandlela Government Complex on Friday, the youths said they do not benefit from some government programmes because they are not affiliated with the ruling party, Zanu PF.
“I went to the Empower Bank with a proposal to get a loan for my business and the first question I was asked was the political party I was aligned to and once I revealed that I did not support the ruling party I was told that getting a loan will be impossible,” said one youth.
He added that political polarisation was causing segregation of some youths in the country a situation that drives them to poverty.
“I hope the ministry will act accordingly and solve this issue because we should not be disadvantaged due to the political party we align ourselves to,” said the participant.
The participants also called for the scrapping of the National Youth Service (NYS), which they said was not benefitting them.
The ruling party, Zanu PF, has often been accused of using NYS graduates popularly known as ‘green bombers’ because of their distinctive olive-green uniforms to torment members of the opposition and other perceived enemies of the state.
“On the issue of the National Youth Service, we feel it is not relevant to us may be in place of it can we have something like devolution,” said Wandile Masuku, a participant.
She added that the NYS is resource and time consuming and not of benefit to the youths.
Aubrey Chimangah pleaded with the ZYC to look into the requirement for work experience, saying most youths were failing to find employment as they did not have the required experience.
“Companies expect us to have five years of work experience when we have just completed our tertiary education and that is impractical, is there something that ZYC can do to help us with this,” said Chimangah.
ZYC programs manager Lungani Zwangobani said the council can only negotiate certain terms with companies so that youths can be able to work even without the requisite work experience.
“We can try and liaise with companies so that they let youths volunteer for at least six months and if you measure up to their expectations you get employed,” said Zwangobani.