Youths from Matobo have taken Matobo Rural District Council (RDC) to task over the use of Council levies and taxes. This came out during a dialogue meeting organised by Heal Zimbabwe partner, Youths for Today and Tomorrow in Matobo ward 14 on 12 November 2020.
The dialogue meeting was part of an initiative to create an interface between the RDC and Youths in Matobo. The decision to conduct an all youth exclusive budget consultation was triggered by calls of under representation of youths issues during past budget consultations by the RDC. This is despite the fact that youth participation is well provided for in both regional and international instruments. Article 11 of the African Youth Charter provides for Youth Participation. This important provision in this regional statute highlights that State Parties must promote active youth participation in society by, “facilitating the creation or strengthening of platforms for youth participation in decision-making at local, national, regional, and continental levels of governance and ensure equal access to young men and young women to participate in decision-making and in fulfilling civic duties”. Section 20 of the Zimbabwe constitution also compels the State and all institutions and other agencies of government to ensure that youths have opportunities to associate and to be represented and participate in political, social, economic, and spheres of life.
The meeting was attended by 96 youths, the ward Councillor and representatives from the RDC. One topical issue that dominated the discussion was the lack of transparency and accountability over use of council revenue especially tax. This is besides the fact that in the past citizens have been paying taxes consistently.” Over the years, we have been paying our taxes consistently but we have never seen the RDC coming back to us with cost breakdown of how the resources are being utilised. We need transparency and accountability on this,” said one participant.
Other issues raised by the youths include water shortages in the district. Only a total of 15 boreholes are functional out of a total of 33. There is also a shortage of youth vocational centres that can help youths to be self sustainable. Participants also highlighted that most schools in Matobo do not offer science subjects which retards the innovative potential of youths in the district. As a way forwad, the RDC vowed to include issues raised by the youths in the budget and commended Youth for Today and Tomorrow for enhancing youth participation through creation of platforms that allow youths to interface with duty bearers. The intervention by Youth for Today and Tomorrow is one among many interventions by Heal Zimbabwe to strengthen capacity of citizens to uphold participation, inclusion, transparency, accountability, and responsiveness principles and mechanisms. Such interventions help build peaceful and socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe Trust