A lot of decisions which are shaping the future of the youth in Zimbabwe are being made today. The youth movement must urgently mobilize to ensure that the youth are the centre of shaping these decisions and that young people including those in the most remote parts of the nation have a say in these decisions and processes. The youth policy and proposal quota system are great entry points which youth must ride on and hijack to ensure that genuine talk and action is made on the real social, economic and political issues that affect them. The products of all the processes which shape the future of youth must represent the real interests of youth and must not be imposed from the top down but must be from the grassroots going up. In addition, these processes must be complimented with systematic reforms which abolish all the current youth evasive systems that make the public office leadership difficult if not impossible to access for young people. Youth are demanding more than just a quota with 10 seats in parliament, we are demanding a radical change in the whole system to ensure that the playing field becomes even, and youth have a genuine chance to make it into public office and be truly represented.
WE THE YOUTH are mobilizing, and we want other youth to make their voices matter! So far we have managed to hear from 52 organizations in Zimbabwe and we have come up with the following proposed key demands in response to the proposed 10 seats for the youth quota. We want more young people to add these Key Proposed Demands. Do not be left out, make your voice matter!
Key Youth Demands:
- Affirmative action must be made to ensure a 50-50% representation of the youth in all public office.
- The youth quota must be age specific, that is to say only youth within the constitutional definition of youth (18-35 years) must have access to public office through the youth quota.
- Political parties must be obliged to enforce the agreed youth quota percentage within their structures as a general rule to be eligible to contest.
- An elective quota system that reserves space were youth can run against youth as opposed to a system of just appointing must be put in place.
- Youth do not want 10 seats added to the current seats as this is expensive and come out of taxpayer’s money. The youth quota must be made from the seats that already exist.
- The youth quota system should not be restricted to political parties but must be open to independent candidates.
- The youth quota must be gender sensitive and ensure that young women and young men have an equal representation of 50-50% through the youth quota.
- The youth quota system must be enforced from a grassroots level to national parliament and in all forms of public office. A youth quota should be there in Parastatals, Commissions, Councils, Ward Development Committees, Village Development Committees etc.
- Electoral and Institutional reforms must be made to abolish all forms of youth evasive systems which restrict the genuine participation of youth.
- Specific budget caps on how much is spent during election campaigns must be put in place and this must apply to all candidates.
- The age for running for public office must be reduced from 21 years to 18 years. If you can vote at age 18 they should run at age 18.
- Upper age limits and term limits must be put in place on the number of years one can spend in public office and on the number of times one can run and be re-elected for public office.
- The required years of experience to access senior positions in public office must be lowered.
- All positions in public office must be accessible by the time anyone turns 25.
- Putting an end to political violence, vote- buying and intimidation.
- Section 20 of the constitution should be enshrined as “Rights for the youth.”
- The demands made by the youth should be added into section 20 of the constitution and enshrined as “Rights for the youth.”
Source: WeLead Trust