Heaps of empty cough syrup, Bron-cleer and illicit alcohol containers, in many a wasteland in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare high-density suburbs is a stark reminder that all is not well in the country.
By Vimbai Kamoyo
Casual strolls in the said suburbs expose rampant drug and alcohol abuse by the youths who have found solace in drunkenness as there is very little do with the unemployment rate pegged by independent observers at an incredible over 90 percent.
Twenty-three year old Tawanda Chirembera of Glen-Norah ‘A’ contends that lack of gainful employment is the main driver of drug and alcohol among the youths.
“It’s not out of choice that these youths are maltreating themselves with alcohol and drugs; they have nothing to do. Some of the youths who are abusing the said substances are university graduates who are weighed down by stress due to unfulfilled dreams. It is however, heartening that the new government seems to be taking issues of the economy seriously,” said Chirembera.
His sentiments were echoed by David Ruredzo of Budiriro 5 who also said the country’s limited employment opportunities were the main reason for the youth delinquency.[the delinquency among the youths]
“That (alcohol and drug abuse) should not surprise anyone given our high unemployment rate. What can they do other than drenching themselves in drunkenness? The new government should prioritize the economy and in the process job creation which is what this country direly needs,” said Ruredzo.
There is however, a glimmer of hope to Ruredzo’s anticipations.
The new Zimbabwe administration led by Emerson Mnangagwa has staked its leadership [to look seriously into the revival of the economy] in the revival of the economy. Speaking at his inauguration the President said his administration will pay special attention to the economy.
“Only that way can we recover this economy, create jobs for our youths and reduce poverty for all our people who must witness real, positive changes in their lives
“In the immediate the liquidity challenges which have bedeviled the economy must be tackled head on, with real solutions being generated as a matter of urgency. People must be able to access their earnings and savings as when they need them.”
“As we focus on recovery of our economy, we must shed misbehaviors and acts of indiscipline which have characterized the past. Acts of corruption must stop forthwith. Where these occur swift justice must be serviced to show each and all that crime and other acts of economic sabotage can only guarantee ruin to perpetrators. We have to aspire to be a clean nation, one sworn to high moral standards and deserved rewards,” said President Mnangagwa.
Pan Africanist organizations Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) on the occasion of signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on building partnerships for supporting the implementation of the continent’s socio-economic transformation, said Africa has a youth protuberance and there is need for the continent to harness the demographic dividend so as to guard against future potential socio-economic crisis and disharmony.
In their address to the members of the media, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayiki, the Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and former Prime Minister of Niger and Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie ACBF Executive Secretary said youths should be at the centre of all development initiatives in Africa.
“There is a need to address the problem of youth unemployment on the continent by creating jobs for the 450 million young Africans. There are vast opportunities in renewable energy, agribusiness and mining projects. Creating jobs for the young people will be a panacea against potential crises that [which] may occur when the youths are not employed as witnessed in North African countries. We also need to work on sill’s development among the youths,” Dr. Mayiki said.
His sentiments were reiterated by Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie on the need to educate and equip African youths with entrepreneurial skills and called for a tripartite dialogue involving the government, institutions of higher learning and the private sector.
“We need skills and human capital development by ramping up vocational and technical training institutions. The problem of de-industrialization will be addressed through skills development among the youths, bearing in mind the critical role of developing national and regional solutions towards addressing unemployment,” Prof Nnadozie said.
According to website Drugabuse.com substance abuse comes with a high price tag that factor in a cocktail of health, legal and criminal issues.
“The many different types and classifications of drugs produce a variety of short-term effects, but the most common ones include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, dizziness, tremors, mood changes and paranoia. In high dosages, the risk for more dangerous effects increases, and the potential for heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure and coma increase,” says the website.
It is therefore imperative that the government rescue the youths from such a catastrophe as drug and alcohol abuse through job creation.