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Speak truth to power, Amnesty International urges youths

25/09/2017 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Youths must speak truth to power ... Tawanda Mutasah

ZIMBABWEAN youths should be at the forefront of challenging power to ensure leaders take decisions that are logical and capable of solving the country’s socio-economic problems, a policy expert has said.

More importantly, since they are more affected by poor decisions taken by those in authority, youths have the responsibility to challenge power in its various forms.

This was said by Tawanda Mutasah, who is senior director, international law and policy at the international secretariat of global rights advocacy group Amnesty International. He tspeaking at the third edition of theSpace, an
intergenerational platform which brings together people from various sectors to share opportunities, draw inspiration and find solutions to common problems affecting Zimbabwean communities

“He who feels it knows it. All forms of power are self-preserving; challenging power needs selflessness, you say it’s a drop in the ocean but the ocean is made up of drops,” said Mutasah.

Describing challenging power as a process that is holistic and inclusive in nature, Mutasah said achieving excellence is a critical quality youths should have before engaging in the process.

“It’s not about the title or nature of work one does; as such, if you are a photographer, thrive to be the best in the game,” he said.

The remarks come at a time the country is highly informalised with only six percent, according to 2014 from Zimstats statistics, of the adult population formally employed. Among the unemployed are youths who constitute 60 percent of the population.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive director Christian Beddies

International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive director Christian Beddies urged the government to create a conducive environment for the informal sector to regularise their operations.

“It is not desirable to destroy the informal sector hence the government should quickly formalise the sector to promote productivity which, in turn, widens the revenue collection base through taxation,” said Beddies.

Philippe Van Damme, European Union (EU) in Zimbabwe ambassador, weighed in and challenged country to reorient its education system to ensure graduands leave universities as well-equipped social entrepreneurs with the capacity to solve the many problems faced by communities.


“The universities are lagging behind the astronomical pace of technological initiatives,” said Van Damme adding, “The technology taught at school will be outdated the moment one finishes tertiary education.

“There will be new technologies at the workplaces. Youths need to be taught to cope with life skills.”

Also speaking at the same event, Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) representative, Naome Chakanya said formalising the informal
economy should not be motivated only by the desire to collect taxes but also creating the right conditions for them to flourish.

“Authorities should ensure that there are proper water and sanitation health through providing toilets and other amenities including shades,” she said, adding, “The informal sector is not formally recognised in social security schemes.”

Despite paying various taxes, the informal sector is largely working under deplorable conditions lacking proper structures with good water supplies and sanitation.

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