Esinathy Sibanda, Features Reporter
It is four months since the Zanu-PF Youth League decided to attach the phrase “ED will never walk alone” to its commitment to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration through a solidarity march that was slated for February.
How will they walk with him? Can he really not walk alone?
“To our enemies we are saying hands off ED, he is our leader. We love him; no one will attack our leader while we are there. As Zanu-PF youths, we will never allow our President to be attacked by the country’s detractors, so we will defend him up to the end,” they said.
It is after such statements that it became clear that they were behind their leader in full force. However, it still remained a mystery how they would “walk with him”.
The President is faced with a mammoth task of turning around the country’s fortunes for the better and everyone is watching with keen interest on how he will do that.
With that in mind, having a youth league pledging its support to one individual under such immense pressure required a strategic workplan, besides organising solidarity marches.
The President is talking about achieving Vision 2030, the Government’s strategy for moving Zimbabwe to a middle income economy by 2030.
The process of attaining Vision 2030 is guided by a 5-year development plan, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme as the forerunner of the Economic Transformation Plan that is going to set the country’s trajectory towards a middle income economy by 2030.
Do the youth understand what they have set themselves up for?
Zanu-PF Youth League deputy secretary, Cde Lewis Matutu, stressed the youth wing’s solidarity to the President’s efforts, saying the youth, with adequate support, access to education, jobs and opportunities to have their voices heard and skills harnessed and nurtured, can easily become a major resource for the realisation of Vision 2030.
He said the youths are a tremendous asset. They have the capability to fruitfully and relentlessly contribute significantly to their communities through proposing innovative solutions for sustainable socio-economic development, driving social progress and inspiring political change, in urban as well as rural contexts.
“The country cannot achieve its mission to attain Vision 2030 without partnering with young people and ensuring they are not only heard but understood, not only engaged but empowered and not only supported but allowed to lead national efforts and processes,” he said.
“In order to successfully combat the economic complexities and head towards a complete economic revolution we need to ensure that we have a crop of industrious, viable, self-sufficient youths that are cultivated for the prosperity of the nation.”
Cde Matutu said the governing party through its Youth League has sought to take a proactive lead in the facilitation of provincial economic research and activities in line with the concept of the devolution of power which was introduced by President Mnangagwa.
The research aims to gather evidence towards the conscientisation of the youth to the many economic transformative initiatives of the Government and vice versa.
“That is to say the effort seeks to synchronise the youth economic initiatives with government policy directives towards a common aspiration of unlocking the average Zimbabwean youth’s economic potential,” he said.
The youth wing leader outlined what the youths intended to do to fulfil its pledge of commitment to the President and his efforts.
He said the Youth League intends to help the Government through the party, to match key policy objectives linked to economic transformation with the strategic initiatives submitted by the study.
Cde Matutu added that they will support creative thinking by leading brainstorming sessions with youth-led organisations in a bid to find tailor-suited avenues to accelerating economic transformation.
“We will ensure ideas are captured and organised into a structured, prioritised and coherent strategy and actioned upon and gather evidence to help policy makers make informed decisions,” he said.
“The Youth League is committed to ensuring that young people are included and actively participate in the success of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP). For instance the TSP seeks to harness the digital economy and digital entrepreneurship has the potential of creating jobs for the youth.
“The Youth League intends to ensure that effective efforts and strategies are put in place for the realisation of these mechanisms such as Shanda Hub will be key drivers of such an initiative.
In line with energies by President Mnangagwa for the empowerment of provinces through devolution, the Youth League will put in place youth development programmes that are fair and balanced and address relevant issues in line with differing communities and needs.”
Shanda Hub is an online resource centre, collaboration space, idea accelerator and youth skills database for all young Zimbabweans. The hub is an initiative of the Zanu-PF Youth League aimed at developing a platform that will allow the documentation of skills, interests and projects taken on by young Zimbabweans in a bid to influence and solicit effective support for all youths.
The system will give young Zimbabweans job placement opportunities in both the Government and the private sector, capacity building, an entrepreneurial ecosystem to grow future employers, networking with other Zimbabwean entrepreneurs (and youth alike), as well as a mentorship programme from leading game changers.
“No one is born a good citizen, no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. ‘A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its lifeline, it is condemned to bleed to death.’ The quote summarises the growing global recognition of the need to engage youth to participate in governance at all levels of societal, political, economic and social development,” said Cde Matutu.
“Our economic solutions will never be found in the streets as is the misconception of many. Such behaviour will only result in chaos and serious setbacks. As young people we must understand that jobs are not created through violence and vandalism of property. We need to support President Mnangagwa’s effort and commitment towards a better Zimbabwe for all, our forefathers the likes of Baba Nkomo, J Tongogara, H, Chitepo, Amai OCZ Muchinguri-Kashiri fought the fight against the imperialist. It is our duty now to fight for economic justice.”
The Youth League is committed to strengthening its capacity to meet new demands and deliver more effectively with and for the young people of Zimbabwe, said Cde Matutu.
“In order to achieve this, the Youth League will make efforts to strengthen international, regional and national commitments to prioritise, invest in, engage and empower the youth,” he said.
In summary, ED will never walk alone!