Youths welcome draft constitution

Young people have expressed delight that the draft constitution has no age limits for those who wish to contest elections.

A National Youth Development Trust meeting in the Pumula North suburb of Bulawayo at the weekend discussed the contents of the draft constitution which has found its way into the hands of the media, political parties and civic society despite the fact that it has not officially been released.

The meeting heard that Zimbabwe has had a history of having aged leaders who have failed to effectively represent the youth constituency. The only time young people have received attention from political leaders is towards elections when they are used as campaign tools. Election periods have also seen the youths being used as perpetrators of violence to spearhead certain political party campaigns.

“We need to dwell more on the issues that concern our day to day living such citizenship, the bill of rights, devolution of power and the governance system in general,” said Khumbulani Maphosa.

Although the bill of rights was hailed as being comprehensive, it sparked an outcry amongst the youths regarding the right to education, with some youths arguing that the state was giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

“Everyone has the right to state funded education from pre-school to primary level and the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources to achieve the progressive realization of this right,” stipulates the draft.

The fact thatthe right to education depends on whether the state has resources or not hinders young people from claiming that right as the state can easily hide behind shortage of resources. Young people felt that this right should be unconditional for both primary and secondary school education.

Youths have been urged to read the draft, discuss it among themselves and then identify strategic people to give their views to ensure that their concerns are captured in time for the second all stakeholders’ conference and parliamentary debates, bearing in mind that the draft is not yet official. – NYDT

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