Weekly Update

Public Lecture – “Constitution Making Process a transition not an end” By Kucaca Phulu

NYDT last week hosted a public lecture on the constitution making process in Zimbabwe under the topic Is a new constitution the answer to Zimbabwe’s poor human rights record, dictatorship, corruption and other governance problems. The lecture critically engaged young people on interrogating possible entry points for youths in the remaining stages of the constitution making process. The lecture was conducted by Kucaca Phulu a lawyer and human rights activist with Abammeli Lawyers for Human Rights Network. Phulu defined to young people that a constitution is not just a document, but the principles and values of a nation which are spelt out in words. He also stressed to young people that the constitution making process is not an end in itself but a means to a democratic end which must however not be taken lightly. In that light he stated that young people’s participation was a very important factor in the success of a good constitution as that is the document that will shape how they lead or are led. Phulu said youths in Zimbabwe have been “de-intellectualised” by politicians to an extent that their views are not taken seriously even when they have substance. Young people concurred with these views and stated that the constitution process has been turned into a political game at the expense of the nation and youths in particular. The constitution making process has been marred by inconsistencies which include but are not limited to, politicization of the process, lack of all stakeholder participation (youths and women) and lack of adequate information on the process. Young people were therefore urged to take full advantage of the remaining important stages of the process which include the second all stakeholders’ conference, the debating of the first draft in parliament and the referendum stage.

Youth Meetings – NYDT extends its influence to Esigodini: NYDT held its first youth meeting in Esigodini on July 2, 2011. The meeting was held to discuss the constitution making process thus far and highlighted the important remaining stages in the constitution making process which must be embraced by youths as entry points for their effective participation. Of major concern to NYDT was the discovery that most youths in the meeting were not well versed with the current political dispensation in Zimbabwe and also confessed to the fact that they did not participate in the constitution making process thus far. They pointed out that this was due to a serious lack of information about governance and other national issues in the country. The youths also further pointed out that they have been exploited by politicians thus relying mainly on what the politicians tell them since they have no other reliable and constant sources of information. NYDT committed to working towards filling the information gap by working together with other civic society organisations to send regular information and newspapers to young people in Esgodini. Newspapers in the form of Youth Xpressions , NYDT’s internal publication and the Weekly Agenda were distributed during the meeting.

‘Engaging youths through sports’ NYDT also held a sports cum policy dialogue meeting for young people at Emganwini constituency on 2 July, which attracted more than 130 youths and their local leaders. So popular was the event that it saw members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police playing soccer with their fellow community youths in what young people dubbed as a positive move in establishing a good rapport with the law enforcement agents. The topic under discussion was the Role of young people in promoting peace as a tool for enhancing youth participation in local governance. Police constables present at the event shared with the crowd that there was a need to refrain from hostility against the police force if there was going to be success in the promotion of a crime free community. They emphasized that they are concerned about youth participation in positive community initiatives instead of crime and other misdemeanors as much as everyone else is. Also present at the event was the MP for the area Seiso Moyo and senior Councilors for Ward 24 and 25 who applauded the event saying it was a powerful means of engaging youth people to talk about nation building issues as well as bringing them face to face with their leaders. Youth councilor for ward 24 Mpumelelo Ncube told the gathering that sport was one of the important means that must be embraced to get young people together to discuss other nation building issues. Young people from the ward also applauded NYDT for remembering them in national initiatives and called for more events that would get them together for effective participation in the national debate.

Full Youth Council Meeting – Bulawayo youth councilors met for their monthly session on Thursday 30 June 2011, to review the work of committees and plan the month ahead. In the past month four committees were formed which include the Publicity, Fund raising, Programmes and Disciplinary committees.

Publicity committee – This committee is mandated to gather information about youth issues as well as to mobilize membership as per the BYC handbook.

Fundraising Committee – It is mandated to assist the body raise funds for specific development initiative in their communities. It was noted by the council that not all projects can be funded but with a little extra input and initiative from the youth councilors, they could help develop their own communities or fund such projects.

Programmes Committee– Is mandated to liaise with all youth ward councilors on events or programmes that are to be implemented in the communities. This committee works closely with the NYDT programmes office.

Disciplinary Committee – Is mandated to handle any disciplinary issues that involve youth councilors conduct within BYC and NYDT business.

All committees have a chairperson and a vice chairperson and two other committee members with roles specific to the needs of the committee. Efforts to gain assistance and knowledge on the workings of the main Bulawayo City Council committees have been made. This will help youth councilors take their work in the communities seriously as well as work hand in hand with their main ward councilor.

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