Intimidation mars youth participation in national processes.

Efforts to galvanise youth participation in national processes in particular the current constitution making process are continuously being thwarted by some elements in our society bent on maintaining a one sided approach to things, who go out of their way to disrupt youth gatherings and make them afraid to become fully active citizens.

 This was proven by the near disruption of a youth focus group meeting held by the NYDT in Mzilikazi recently. The meeting initially held at the Tshaka Arts Center was temporarily stopped when police officers ordered the lot to disperse and seek permission to hold the meeting first. Surprisingly, other youth meetings are usually held at the same venue without clearance being sought by the police.

 How then can young people be called to account and held responsible for their role in our community and country if they are not allowed the freedom to meet and talk about what they would want in their constitution. It is sad that our security forces do not realise nor care about this simply because they have chosen to put their choices in the hands of their masters.

 The newly elected youth councillor for Mzilikazi’s ward 7, Simbarashe Chakawuya , said he would do his best to get young people to appreciate their role in community and national issues. He lamented that what the police did was bad as their meeting was not meant to be a political one.

“ We as youths are just interested in issues of leadership and how to enhance our lives. How can we be leaders when we live in constant fear. Youths must have the freedom to express themselves to become true leaders” Said Chakawuya .

 Other youths at the meeting also expressed the view that they should be allowed to sit and discuss issues freely and openly to promote a spirit of tolerance, consultation, debate and democracy which was currently not existing in Zimbabwe.

 NYDT is currently holding its second round of youth elections at ward level and has been mobilising young people to take active part in the current constitution making process. Road-shows, focus group meetings, policy dialogue meetings, public speaking competitions amongst other events have been held by the organisation to raise awareness on the importance of youth participation in this very important process.

 NYDT is an organisation that has dedicated itself to encouraging and equipping youths with tools and skills to fully and confidently take part in nation building processes. Methods used include community and group meetings, clean up campaigns, debates, public speaking competitions, cinema and theatre. All these have been carefully selected with the aim getting young people to interact as often as possible to deliberate on issues that affect them in order to take concerted decisions on issues that affect them as a group.

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