Youths unhappy with Presidential powers

Youths have expressed concerns at the level of presidential powers retained in the Copac draft constitution. At a feedback meeting held by the National Youth Development Trust in Pumula North this week, the most contentious issue was that the current presidential powers leave the finalisation of the constitution making process in the hands of the President. He has to sign the draft into law before it can be passed.

The youths raised fears that the whole constitution making process was a waste of time and resources if at the end of the day the President had the powers to refuse to sign, forcing the country to revert to the Lancaster House constitution. They said their fears were based on the stories they had been hearing about Zanu (PF) coming up with its own draft constitution.

They also raised the lack of clarity in terms of devolution of power and how the various arms of government would relate to each other. The constitutional feedback meetings are a series of meetings facilitated by NYDT in the organisation’s project areas at a constituency level. So far eight meetings have been held in Bulawayo and recommendations made by young people will be compiled into one comprehensive document to inform submissions at the second all stakeholders conference.

The Bulawayo Youth Council held a full Council Meeting on September 18. The councillors discussed a number of issues, key among them the need to relaunch the BYC before the next youth council elections could be held. They said that this would create the necessary hype needed amongst the young people before another set of youth councilors are elected.

They underscored the need for the councillors and their respective structures to participate in community development initiatives in their respective wards. Upon discussing the community initiatives they had implemented in their respective wards, the youth councilors requested for copies of the COPAC draft constitution to be distributed amongst youths in the wards so that they could fully comprehended the draft and make submissions that could be forwarded to the COPAC ahead of the Second All Stakeholders Conference.

Some who had conducted meetings in their wards stated that young people had limited knowledge of the draft constitution. The youth councilors also pledged to play a pivotal role in mobilising young people to participate in the next youth council election that is supposed to be held soon at the beginning of every year.

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