MDC Youth Policy
The MDC government shall have a Ministry of Youth and Gender to be the custodian of the constitutional mandate of delivering on the life-long aspirations of any Zimbabwean who is thirty years and below.
The Vision of this Youth PolicyUnder the MDC government, Zimbabwe will produce an informed, dynamic, responsible, creative and participative youth who is fully developed mentally, spiritually, socially, physically, political and contributing to the economic prosperity of the country.
In reaching this vision, MDC is guided by the values of democracy, equity, tolerance, and non-discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, tribe or gender. We will build modes of governance where youths are represented and fully participate in the state, social partnership and dialogue. This will be based on freedoms and securities embedded and guaranteed in a new people driven constitution and on strong and independently monitored electoral rights. We will strengthen democratic participation of youths through reform of parliament, local and central government to build confidence in the institutions of government. We will build equity in representation and democratic participation in youths and vulnerable groups.
ChallengesA combination of bad governance, a vindictive macroeconomic environment and arrogant state of denial by the current government of its failures has resulted in the following serious challenges facing the youth of Zimbabwe:
Health and AidsAlmost 60% of Zimbabwe’s 13million population is composed of children and youths under the age of thirty. This would mean that three to four million Zimbabwean youths are directly under threat of HIV/Aids infection, since they are in the reproductive and sexually active age group. With the ZANU PF government’s lethargy in declaring this deadly disease as a national disaster, this has endangered not only the careers, but also the life expectancy of young people, reduced from sixty to almost forty years in just less than ten years of widespread management of the health sector.
Economic empowermentThe negative growth in the economy, causing a massive 85% unemployment means that youths are highly exposed to poverty. They no longer have the capacity to engage in productive business activities that would improve their standards of living, remaining highly dependant on their parents well into their late twenties. The results are devastating – engaging if illegal labour with sub-human conditions in South Africa, Botswana and United Kingdom; an exponential increase in petty and serious crimes; drugs and sex abuse. At the worst, some spend their entire lives in the streets peddling cheap merchandise and washing cars.
Political empowermentAs observed above, poverty among youths in Zimbabwe inadvertently leads to political exploitation. Some are used as instruments of political intimidation while others are simply denied their rightful role to participate. Out of the official voters role of five thousand citizens, most are youths, but one hardly sees them exercise their rights at polling stations for various reasons. Even when they vote, they are forced to support elderly candidates who have no empathy with the demands of youth. Draconian constitutional regulations even prevent youths from assuming important mayoral and presidential positions, thus leaving youths permanently and perennially dis-empowered.
National unity and peaceThe war of liberation in the 70’s was fuelled by the enthusiasm of youths, many of who perished at the hands of ruthless Rhodesian forces. After independence, almost ten thousand youths lost their lives in Mugabe’s brutal repression against imaginary enemies in Matebeleland, with more shedding blood in the later electoral years. Thus, the burden of restoring Zimbabwe’s humanitarian sanity is borne by its youths, who carry the responsibility of peace and forgiveness.
Sports, culture and recreationZimbabwe has literally stopped celebrating success in sports, cultural activities and recreation. A repressive dictatorship usually has its priorities skewed towards militarization; hence the government’s neglect of social services in favour of Border Gezi consecration and propaganda camps. Infrastructure for soccer, tennis and cricket – the mainstay of cultural expression – has collapsed. On several occasions Zimbabwe has failed to qualify for world tournaments, with billions of dollars channeled to shadowy public projects. Play centre and youth clubs are but a faint memory of the distant past, while the government has run out of foreign currency to send the smallest of all youth teams to Olympic and All Africa Games.
Gender, equality and equityTraditional stereotypes against the girl-child, despite vociferous advocacy by civic society groups, have continued to thrive under the current government’s lukewarm commitment to equality. Of the 200 000 or so children outside school, 150 000 are girls, while their sisters equally suffer the most abusive conditions of service as maids and child minders. The current government’s token ministry of gender is nothing other than a conduit of partisan handouts. In any case, a government with a known record of violating freedom of assembly, association and speech cannot possibly have a capacity of respecting equality. Even where there is an opportunity to share the country’s wealth, youths and women are discriminated against, as seen by the universally discredit land expropriation program that has benefited mostly ZANU PF male law breakers.
Goals of the Youth PolicyWithout necessarily committing the MDC government to long-term dreams that are beyond its fiscal capacity, the aim of this policy is:
- To create an enabling environment for the youth of Zimbabwe so as to fully develop the mental, social, spiritual, physical, policy, political and political and economic potential of these youths in order to improve their quality of life.
- To contribute towards the reduction of poverty and all forms of political, social and economic exclusion of youth.
- To promote a culture of peace, tolerance and prosperity among the youth of Zimbabwe.
- To promote health styles and personal well being with particular emphasis on the prevention of HIV and AIDS and promotion of reproductive health.
Main objectives of the Youth PolicyIn order to achieve our goals, the MDC government sets itself the following targets:
- To integrate youth issues in educational policies, curriculum and programmes at Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education levels as dictated by the labour market.
- To promote research and dissemination of information to youth.
- To reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, HIV and Aids, including stemming drug abuse and incidences of unplanned teenage pregnancies.
- To create profitable opportunities for youth economic empowerment through a National Youth Empowerment Commission to ensure that adequate resources are directed towards youth programmes and activities
- To promote positive participation in political activities as well as encouraging youths to assume positions of influence in decision making bodies.
- To cultivate a culture of debate, peace, tolerance, national unity, and patriotism augmented by a nature of discipline and responsibility.
- To build a healthy, active and creative youth with skills that support the reconstruction of Zimbabwe’s economy and
- To mainstream gender equality and equity among youths of all sectors of life.
The programme of action
The plan of action of the Youth Policy is divided into seven agendas:
- Social Agenda, inclusive of education and training, gender equality and
- Health, HIV/Aids
- Sports, culture, arts and recreation
- Gender, equality and equity
- The economic [empowerment and participation]
- The political [empowerment and participation] and the
- National unity and Peace agenda
The matrix below expands on the Youth Policy plan of action:
The Social Agenda
|Adequate education for youth ||Compulsory and accessible pre-|
School, Primary and Secondary education.
Teacher raining Curriculum.
system to make it industry-friendly.
Increasing quality of tertiary
education to international standards
Developing research institutes in
Introducing career guidance and
counselling in every Secondary
Expand the capacity of and encourage enrolment if Part-time education and Night school.
Enhanced student funding at universities, vocational centres, polytechnics and teacher training colleges.
Practical life-skill subjects introduced from Grade Five onwards.
Making Shona and Ndebele, African and European history compulsory in the first four years of Secondary School education.
Continued upgrading of libraries and ICT facilities in all provinces.
De-politicising the recruitment of School heads and University Chancellors.
An Education Fund created to assist youths displaced by political violence.
Youth Service Centres established in all provinces to look after the socio-cultural demands of young people.
The Health and HIV/Aids Agenda
|Accessibility to and affordability of health facilities and medicines |
|Government subsidising health delivery in public and municipal hospitals.|
Promoting traditional and modern birth control methods.
Declaring HIV/Aids a national disaster and depoliticising National Aids Council funding.
Ensuring that youth have accessibility to anti retroviral drugs.
Government initiating a Youth Mutual Health Insurance Fund with relevant strategic partners.
Rationalising media advertising regulations to ensure they adhere to socio-cultural norms.
Mainstream Family Life into labour laws to enhance marital cohesion.
Re-visit working conditions of health and medical workers to enhance commitment, professionalism and reduce brain drain.
The Sports, Culture and Recreation Agenda
|Value addition of sports, culture, arts and recreation. |
Accessibility to and affordability of recreational facilities
|Government to re-classify sports as an industry and integral part of economy.|
Ensuring that all forms of sport are available and supported at all level of schools.
Designing and implementing tax incentives for companies supporting sports.
Government and scholarships grants to ensure youth participate in local, regional and international sporting events.
Government to re-classify theatre, dance and visual arts as a business industry and integral part of the exports trade.
Ensuring that theatre, dance and visual arts are incorporated in school curricula at all levels.
Initiating global strategic partnerships for cultural exchange programmes between youth groups.
Central and local government to support infrastructure for community recreation.
Initiating local strategic partnerships with companies and communities to support and manage recreation centres.
Gender, equality and Equity Agenda
|Equal access to opportunity||Enacting a Youth Equal Opportunities Act|
Establishing a Youth and Gender Commission to research on and monitor adherence to gender equality and equity
Encouraging gender conscious value adding affirmative action at all levels of employment.
Establish strategic partnerships with CSOs for gender advocacy.
The Economic Agenda
|Wealth creation, enhanced self-sufficiency and high standard of living||Factoring in youth empowerment portfolio in the Youth and Gender Commission.|
Factor-in entrepreneurial and business skills training in secondary schools.
Establishing strategic partnerships with companies and CSOs to expose youths to Information, Communication and Technology in all provinces.
Including youths in public works programs.
Providing tax incentives for companies that have an affirmative program of youth capacity building.
The political Agenda
|Participation at all levels||Constitutional reform to factor in protection of youths’ right to participate in governance.|
National Unity and Peace Agenda
|Teamwork, cooperation for a common cause||Constitutional reform to factor in equal participation and recognition of minority group rights.|
Ensure value adding affirmative action for minority groups at all levels.
Establishing an all stakeholder Truth and Reconciliation Commission to analyse cases of human rights abuse against youths between 1980 to present