MDC youths focus on environment

Instead of retaliating against Zanu (PF) violence, the majority of MDC-T affiliated youths here are focusing their energy on environmental issues.

The young people have been growing gum trees as a way of dealing with soil erosion.
The young people have been growing gum trees as a way of dealing with soil erosion.

“We are being sidelined from employment in government departments at the instigation of local traditional leaders and Zanu (PF) politicians. Most MDC youths here have good passes at both O’ and A’ Level. However, there is a strict requirement that one has to be an active Zanu (PF) member to be considered for job interviews in the education and health ministries, as well as the GMB. For that reason, we are unemployed. We wonder why Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed to form a coalition government with Zanu (PF) given its high record of impunity,” said Kudakwashe Sibanda, an MDC youth taking part in community projects in Chikuku.

The Zanu (PF) side of government has long since abandoned the “Food for Work” programmes where villagers filled up gullies and cleared trees on the roads in exchange for food or money. The District Development Fund no longer clears the dusty roads in the rural areas, leaving locals with no choice but to do the work themselves.

“We have since taken over the rehabilitation of the roads and the filling up of the dongas and gullies with sand and stone. We are now in the rainy season and the environmental degradation will be catastrophic if we fold our hands and wait for Zanu (PF) and DDF to come to repair the roads and bridges. Even though we are not getting a cent for the work we are doing, we are conserving the environment for our own good and for future generations,” said Sibanda.

The young people have also set up gum tree nurseries that they hope will minimize soil erosion in the future. They appealed to the Forestry Commission to compliment their efforts in growing trees.

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