THE 19th century British Prime Minister wrote in his Sybil that was first published in 1845 about his prayer and wish for the youth saying,
“That we may live to see England once more possess a free monarchy and a privileged and prosperous people, is my prayer; that these great consequences can only be brought about by the energy and devotion of our youth is my persuasion.
“We live in an age when to be young and to be indifferent can be no longer synonymous. We must prepare for the coming hour. The claims of the future are represented by suffering millions; and the youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity.”
Benjamin Disraeli’s realisation and acknowledgement of how important the country’s youths and their potential can be harnessed and used in turning around the country into a free and prosperous people can never be overemphasised.
However, it has to be pointed out that the world demands not only the youths but their qualities too, not just a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity and those with the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.
Disraeli’s words ring true and locally our Government under the new dispensation has moved to safeguard youth participation as important stakeholders in the national development discourse through a number of initiatives.
The Government efforts found expression and clarity on Thursday when President Emmerson Mnangagwa met a sea of youths in Gweru where he reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to improving the lives of the country’s youths.
He said his Government was putting in place a number of economic empowerment initiatives to fight redundancy in the country’s youths, some of whom have for long been used by different political parties as weapons of political assault of real or imagined enemies.
The President’s sentiments are derived from the knowledge that we have a powerful potential in our youths who have shown the willingness and courage to change old ideas and practices as well as direct their power toward good ends.
It is a complete departure from the previous dispensation where the secret message communicated to most young people in the country by the politicians that were around them was that they were not needed, that the society would run itself quite nicely until they — at some distant point in the future, take over the reins.
Yes, they have been trying to obscure an unsettling reality yet the fact as aptly put by President Mnangagwa is that the society has not been running itself nicely because the same society needs all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on the country’s difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of its youths is not possible and the involvement of the youths should no longer be seen as a rebellious act as it was under the previous political administration.
The youths should therefore heed the President’s clarion call for the youths to actively participate in the many opportunities that his Government is working on, bringing and ensuring that the rate of unemployment is reduced.
It is in the same vein that we urge the Government to continue increasing a cross pollination of ideas and active participation and partnership with young people so that they are served better as the more comprehensively they are involved as service partners, the more they increase public value to the entire community and add value to the development discourse of the country.
President Mnangagwa said the youths were the future, adding that it was incumbent upon the Government to create a conducive socio-economic environment and lay the foundation for them to sprout and guide the country forward.
“If you are the future, you must be empowered now for you to be good leaders tomorrow because you have been empowered at the correct age. You should not remain poverty stricken when you are young because when you reach our age you will not value the young who come after you,” he said.