Zim group demands youth quota in petition to parliament

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

SOME Gwanda youths have petitioned parliament demanding a 30 percent youth quota in terms of national parliamentary representation so as to increase the involvement of young people on developmental and governance issues.

The youths under the Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) banner want parliament to enact a law which guarantees the young population a quota in national processes.

In their 30 August petition they addressed to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, petitioners argue that young people are being denied their rights to full representation by the current system.

CYDT chairperson Zanele Nyathi, in a letter accompanying the petition, also argued that lack of a quota system has created room for continued marginalisation of youths in critical decision making spaces such as ward development committees and parliament.

“Therefore, it is against this background that on behalf of youths from Matabeleland South Province, we request your office to submit to parliament the request to have a constitutionally supported youth quota that provides for at least 30% youth representation,” reads part of the letter.

“We also request an engagement between the parliamentary portfolio committee and the youths to further consolidate their submissions on the latter prior to finalisation of the amendments.

“Most people live in the rural areas and as such, we beseech the parliamentary portfolio committee to make time and meet up with rural youths so that they also express their views in regard to the Bill and the above indicated request.”

The youths also argue that the recently proposed Constitutional Amendment which seeks to create a 10-youth quota seat in parliament was inadequate.

“Now, therefore your petitioners beseech the Parliament of Zimbabwe to protect the constitutionally guaranteed right for the youths to be fairly represented at all levels starting with district to national level platforms,” the petition further reads.

The youths also suggested that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should set aside constituencies in which young people can contest each other.

“Promote youth ability to battle it alone during an electoral process.

“Ensure ZEC sets aside constituencies where youths are able to contest each other.

“This will see a significant increase of youth representation at parliament and local governance,” the youths said.