PATRIOTIC Front (PF) youths and some from the opposition in Kabwe have welcomed the recently launched national youth policy and action plan which targets the creation of 500,000 jobs for youths.
In a media statement obtained by the Daily Nation and signed by PF Kabwe Central constituency youth chairman Prince Chileshe and his vice Derrick Lubumbe, the two leaders said that it was sad that youths who form about 70 percent of the country’s population have been sidelined for a long time.
“For a long time, youths have been sidelined in a lot of business and key employment opportunities. But with President Lungu’s leadership, we hope things will change for the better. We have already seen the goodwill from this Government by the number of key appointments that have been given to youth leaders,” reads the statement in part.
The youths leaders said that they would like to obtain the document, study it and come up with a road map so that all relevant ministries, Government and non-government departments allow the President’s instruction to be implemented and bear fruit. They said that the 500,000 jobs proposed must be created by the end of 2016. “This document should not just sit on the tables and gather dust. We will follow the updates the President has requested for with keen interest to make sure that youths benefit as intended and anyone one found wanting to frustrate the Government will be reported to relevant authorities,” further reads the statement. Apart from the 500,000 jobs, they have also requested President Lungu to come up with a deliberate policy that will encourage youth participation in governance issues such as Parliament and councils by reserving a certain percentage of seats for the youths.
Meanwhile, opposition National Restoration Party (NAREP) Central Province secretary Berlington Mulenga Chisenga has hailed the document and said it will help uplift the livelihood of youths if Government adhere to its implementation.
UPND Central Province youth chairman Milner Mwanakampwe said the document must not be used as a political bait to youths but must be sustainable. He said while the pronouncements might sound good, if the intention was merely aimed at wooing the electorate ahead of the 2016 general election, then the document would be meaningless as soon as the political end was achieved. “While it sounds good, it is important to take a non partisan approach to the policy. It must be distanced from mere political rhetoric and being a bait to attract votes because if that is the objective then we fear that once the political end is met then it shall be meaningless,” said Mr. Mwanakampwe.