The misery of Zimbabwean youths
BULAWAYO – Clad in full Zanu PF party regalia, Thembani Nkomo makes his way to the party’s headquarters for a programme he believes might assist him in getting a job.
Arriving, he meets up with hoards of other youths from different working class suburbs.
A clutch of the expectant group comes from as far away asNyamandlovu and Gwanda, are sitting on the hard floor while being discouraged from leaning against the wall.
The sitting arrangement is uncomfortable and Thembani wonders how he will manage to sit for hours in a squashed position and also pay undivided attention to lengthy lectures as well as instructions.
Individuals who submitted their applications to different organisations through the party’s officials are asked to stand up to find out whether they followed protocol.
Unfortunately, a young lady who had applied for a nursing job is asked to sit down because she missed the previous week’s meeting.
One of the party officials takes to the podium and tells the youths they should not come to Zanu PF for money or jobs so that they blame the party when that does not happen.
Confused and disappointed, Themba wonders why he has attended the function, if not for empowerment.
His mind quickly shifts to his troubles and he lapses into a deep trance.
Still in the zombie state all he can hear is the endless repetition of the party chant: “Pamberi ne Zanu PF” reciprocated with a resounding “Pamberi!”
His vision glares at young and vibrant newly inducted party members raising clenched fists.
Although the Zanu PF led government promised to create six million jobs in the next five years, unemployment levels in Zimbabwe have reached alarming levels.
Indigenisation is being touted as the vehicle that will spawn a change of fortunes against deepening unemployment but there is no one benefiting from it.
There is no helping hand for the desperate Zimbabwean youths who have not had the opportunity to get a decent job, forcing a multitude to resort to subsistence trading.
Liquidity problems have culminated in the shutting down of most companies and some relocating to the capital city in a bid to remain profitable, and step back from the brink.
Unemployment has become an incurable disease in the nation.
A number of youths are turning to neighbouring countries for jobs after school.
With the country losing the much-needed skills and ideas to boost other countries.
Michael Ndiweni , coordinator of Youth NAD said high levels of unemployment in the country can be attributed to the collapse of the economy that led to the closure of companies.
He said government is not doing enough to curb unemployment and create opportunities for the youths.
“Government should emphasise artisanship just like it does to academics. By doing so, the country will be able to produce innovative young people who can use their hands and earn a living, instead of waiting to apply for a job in the shrinking economy, and fewer job opportunities are available.
Ndiweni said the government must also take measures to strengthen and formalise the informal economy so as to encourage growth of small informal businesses owned by young people.
He said the number of unemployed youths is very high, which makes youths susceptible to abuse by selfish politicians that aim to settle political scores.
“Youths are given alcohol, then unleashed to beat up others and do other heinous crimes.
“Some youths are forced to migrate and end up doing menial jobs, engaging in prostitution, and other anti-social behaviours,” he said.
Mgcini Moyo, programmes officer at youth empowerment, Intscha.com says government is neglecting its responsibilities.
“When the Zimstats gave out its statistics that there is an unemployment rate of 11 percent, it clearly shows that we are being led by a government that is trying to run away from creating employment for youths.
“The nature of jobs we envision are formal, so that youth can save pensions and access loans,” Moyo said.
He said government should control corruption to create employment.
“Government should intensify its efforts on curbing corruption, so that there will be a fair share of resources for youths.
It should depoliticise State entities so that young people can be able to access jobs,” he added.
Moyo said young people have given up hope of ever getting formal employment and improving the quality of their lives especially in Bulawayo where industries have closed down and executives have been looting machinery, transferring it to other areas.
The MDC youth chairperson for Bulawayo province Bekithemba Nyathi said his party is planning on having capacity building programmes in cluster districts in a bid to reorganise the youths and empower them with projects so as to create employment.
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstats) state that Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of 11 percent, contrary to claims by some economists that the country has a joblessness rate of more than 70 percent.
The survey revealed that at least 3,7 million Zimbabweans are involved in informal sector activities. Women make up 54,6 percent forming a majority of the people employed in the informal sector.
Out of the country’s total population of 13 061 239, the economically active group stood at 68,8 percent while the economically inactive group was 32,5 percent.
The statistics have stirred a lot of debate among people who consider the data inaccurate, considering commonplace unemployment they witness in their daily lives, particularly among college graduates.
Youth unemployment peaked during the decade of long political and economic crisis that plagued Zimbabwe since 2000.
The unstable economic environment during this period led to the proliferation of the informal sector and parallel (black) market which absorbed most young people as agents and dealers.
With the signing of the Global Political Agreement, the economy stabilised and these activities came to a sudden halt, worsening the plight of the youths.
Against this backdrop, the Government of National Unity took reduction of unemployment to be one of the key areas of action.
The end of the inclusive government dampened the hopes of many youths which has nose-dived and crystallised into utter desperation.