Sunday, March 13, 2011
By Darious Kapembwa in Kitwe and Christopher Miti in Chipata
Sun 13 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT
COPPERBELT University Students Union (COBUSU) president David Chikwanda has urged the government to resolve problems facing youths without calling them to dialogue because the problems are well known. And Bishop William Mchombo says youths are at the crossroads of their youthful lives because of challenges of poverty and unemployment.
In a walk-in interview in Kitwe, Chikwanda, who was accompanied by two unemployed CBU graduates, said conditions in which many young people were living were very bad and needed to be addressed without necessarily calling them to dialogue.
“The questions that government must address are; why is there no mutual understanding between government and young people? We are talking about dialogue and understanding. There must be a reason why all of a sudden there is no understanding between young people and their government,” Chikwanda said.
He said examination results at grades seven and nine painted a clear picture of some of the miseries that young people went through which needed to be addressed before government sought mutual understanding with young people.
“Right now there are more bars and taverns than libraries in communities around the nation. So you cannot expect young people to be any better. It’s simply not healthy and I think people do not need a round table meeting with young people to dialogue on that issue … because it’s been a long-time cry of the people,” he said.
And former COBUSU finance secretary Masuzyo Nyirongo said there could not be mutual understanding when the public media was airing programmes whose only intent was to mudsling other political parties and perceived MMD government political opponents.
Meanwhile, Bishop Mchombo who is the head of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia said the church appreciated the work of the Zambian youth during the liberation struggle.
“Over the short years of our independence the youth have contributed positively to the cultural, economical and social development of our nation through different media and occupations,” Bishop Mchombo said.
He said the youths challenges were exacerbated by attendant problems of substance abuse, early marriages, and failure to access equitable education especially young ones from rural and poor families.
“Because our youths have become so vulnerable economically, we see them being subjected to emotional, physical (political), sexual and psychological violence by people who have the means to provide the necessary help. The frequency of domestic violence and sexual abuse of children as reported in the media has also become a matter of grave concern,” Bishop Mchombo said.
He urged people to work together to eradicate the vices afflicting the young people and lend a listening ear to their cry. He also said youths should be engaged and listened to and not be abused in any form.
“Those in positions of power and influence should use their authority with a lot of restraint and humility in enhancing true youth empowerment and sustainable development and not for political expedience or egotism,” he said.
And former Chipata mayor Patrick Chirwa urged the youths not to accept to be used as political tools by various political parties.
He said it was unfortunate that some parties regard youths as friends during elections. Chirwa said a powerful and principled youth wing was a backbone of any nation.