Focus on youth in new Zimbabwe

HARARE - The role of the student and youth movement during the country's political transition was the focus of a discussion hosted by Action for Southern Africa, the National Union of Students and Young Labour.

Speakers included Clever Bere, ZINASU President; Brilliant Dube, ZINASU Vice-President; Tony Dykes, ACTSA Director, and Andrew Gwynne MP for the Labour party, the youngest in the British Government.

Brilliant Dube started proceedings by delivering a report of an MDC member who suffered a brutal attack by Zanu (PF) militia, placing the discussion in the context of the ongoing trauma of the people of Zimbabwe. Attention was given to the plight of women in Zimbabwean society.

Concern was also raised that the home office in the UK might normalise the situation in Zimbabwe and send people back that had been in the UK for more than five years and had, to a certain extent, been deskilled.

Bere and Dykes both promoted the concept of people-to-people solidarity being an important element of any future action. Bere commented on how the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and Labour Unions in the UK had built solidarity, and in turn suggested that the UK National Union of Students and ZINASU could participate in exchanges and twinning.

Bere also proposed that activism in the UK students’ unions could include lobbying the British government to push the engagement of the Zimbabwe government with civil society in policy-building.

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