“One of the major challenges facing Zimbabwe is its ability, as a nation, to spearhead its development agenda on the basis of participatory, consensus driven, reconciliation and in a peaceful and just manner, “Umutoni told delegates attending the launching of the Zimbabwe National Youth Policy in Harare on Tuesday.
“It should also be noted that these conditions may not be fully realized if there is inadequate attention and investment made on young people,” she added.
She urged youths to be involved in the national healing
ZANU-PF used the youths known as Green Bombers to perpetrate violence on MDC supporters since 2000.
The National Youth Policy is being reviewed ten years after it was initially set as a framework for youth development programmes and interventions in Zimbabwe. The review has been set to address some fundamental issues not fully captured in the initial policy document, including young people’s reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, disability and gender.
UNICEF country representative, Dr. Peter Salama, said the reviewed National Youth Policy should protect youths from all types of abuse.
“At all times, young people need to be protected from violence and abuse. The policy will help but it must be backed up with meaningful programmes and real budget and a conducive environment,” he said.
Contrary to his ZANU-PF party’s behaviour of politicizing the country’s youths, Youth Development, Indeginization and Empowerment, Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, said stakeholders and young people should depoliticise the youth policy making process.
“The reviewed national youth policy needs to ensure that all young people’s views have been taken into consideration, regardless of their religious, political or cultural persuasion,” said the minister. ““This policy should create an enabling environment for all young people’s development and empowerment across all political, social and economic divides,” he said
With youths making up over 70% of Zimbabwe’s population at all times, this policy will greatly aid in ensuring that all their issues in relation to health, education, poverty eradication, skills development and economic empowerment are adequately addressed.
Consultations to get the inputs of most of the young people in the country will be carried out in all ten provinces of the country over the next three months.