Youths urged to be proactive in constitution making.

Youths in Bulawayo have been urged to take full advantage of the remaining stages of the Constitution making process rather than continue to complain that they have been sidelined in the process so far.


This came out of a Youth Round Table Conference held in Bulawayo, where Edward Mkhosi the co- chairperson of COPAC was the presenter. During the discussion with youths, Hon. Mkhosi acknowledged the fact that the youths have been sidelined so far in the constitution making process, however highlighting that they can still participate in the remaining stages


The meeting, hosted by the National Youth for Development Trust (NYDT), brought together at least 50 youths from Bulawayo. Key among the concerns raised by the youth was the fact that they have been sidelined throughout the process so far and therefore do not have the guarantee that they can be involved in the remaining stages. In this regard however, they were encouraged to claim their space in the process as the politicians are unlikely to give them any opportunities. The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator, Rodrick Fayayo, urged them to make efforts to read carefully through the draft constitution and make their input before castigating the whole process as being flawed.


Youths in meeting further questioned the statistics published by COPAC with regards to youth participation, saying there was no clear methodology used in collating numerical data of the participants and therefore there was no justification for the 22,68% youth participation. They also indicated that there were cases of the same youths participating in various meetings during the collation stage.


They further complained that some of the issues affecting the youth were being directed to adults to respond on their behalf. A case in point was the issue of National Youth Service. Instead of asking the youth if they wanted National Youth service, the outreach teams were asking the parents if they wanted jobs for their children.   In all these cases the youths pointed out that this direct and indirect exclusion was bound to affect their capacity to influence significantly the constitution making process.


In response to these relevant concerns from the youths, Hon. Mkhosi urged the youths to document such issues in future so that the people responsible can be exposed with evidence. He also stated that youths should be proactive and realise that they can change the political discourse in the country.


In mapping the way forward, the Director of NYDT, Liberman Bhebhe, pointed out that the youths should be more concerned with the remaining stages and find key strategic entry points in ensuring that they make a meaningful contribution. He identified the second all stakeholders’ conference, parliamentary debates and the referendum as possible opportunities for input.


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