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Youth Unemployment – The Real Time Bomb for Zimbabwe

Yesterday was such a great relief, when the news hit the wires that the girl who was stripped by touts has finally emerge and made a report to the police. You could almost hear the sounds of celebration. The accused will appear in court on 29th of December, 2014, we are told. Yes, Zimbabwe stood against mob justice; and said we really need law and order in the country. If someone commits a crime, we need swift justice. Yes, this is one single case, and many cases have gone unreported.

The nation must face the underbelly of this case. Underlying this whole saga, is what Zimbabwe has to face today and not tomorrow. Youth unemployment. This is a real time bomb. What we are seeing today is thousands of touts , mostly young men at the bus terminus and ranks picking the crumbs off a tottering economy, with the transport sector itself under immense strain.

The  young men come to the ranks/bus terminus looking for food, just an opportunity to load one Kombi and have a bite for the day. They come to look for this very insecure job as a conductor, “maybe if I work hard I am noticed by influential rank marshall, so by driver of so and so company and possibly I will get a recommendation.”. They come looking for skills, even driving skill. Many are given the car and learn how to drive, with simply instructions“mupfanha muvhisa mota iyende apo“. Before we know it they have driver’s license and they are drivers. Some even buy off these licenses and are a risk to passengers, but anyway that’s another story about rampant and dangerous corruption in society.

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I used to be a Kombi driver and saw with my own eyes the issue of poverty, unemployment and its impact on this sector. The violence are witnessing, the increased crime and abuse of women has a class dimension. It is the poor youth, with no access to education, jobs post education; limited livelihoods opportunities et cetera who end up hanging around as maWhindi. Its the poor who can not afford a car, who can not book the luxury coach for their journeys, who have to take a kombi as a daily commute. Its costly to be poor. Crime has a class dimension.

What we have witnessed in Zimbabwe in this case of a girls being stripped by touts is an urgent Zim-Asset issue. Implement that blue print; revive the economy, provide jobs;  create opportunities and choices for our young people and restore law and order. Still, poverty is no justification for one to break the law; to disrespect others or to violate women’s bodies.

Just my three bond cents of thought on this day!

*Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda is a human rights lawyer and founder of Rozaria Memorial Trust. She is the African Union Goodwill Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Marriage, and is current General Secretary of the World YWCA. She writes in her personal capacity. Contact: vanyaradzayi@gmail.com
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Nigel Mugamu is extremely passionate about the use of tech in Africa, travel, wine, Man Utd, current affairs and Zimbabwe.

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