'Arrest youth fund leaders'

HARARE - Parliament has recommended the arrest of government and bank officials who facilitated the abuse of the $10 million Youth Fund aimed at enabling youths to start income-generating projects.

This follows revelations that the fund, which was availed to the country’s youths in 2011 through the Kurera/Ukondla Youth Development Fund benefitted mainly youths linked to influential political figures particularly in the ruling Zanu PF.

Addressing a Youth Forum employment conference in Harare yesterday, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Indigenisation said his committee would recommend that those who aided the abuse of the funds whether directly or indirectly be brought to book.

Wadyajena who was in the company of other members of his committee including Mkoba MP Amos Chibaya was under pressure from the youths who wanted to know if the committee was taking any remedial action on the matter.

“We are doing everything in our power to ensure that justice prevails. We are not the police so we do not arrest anyone but we will certainly recommend and even instruct the police that whoever was involved in corruption with the youth fund should be arrested,” Wadyajena said.

Last week, Wadyajena raised the red flag after he noticed that a number of names on the list of beneficiaries provided by bank officials when they appeared before his committee were “suspiciously” famous.

In a move that is likely to rekindle his running battles with former Youth minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Wadyajena said his committee would invite the responsible ministry now led by Francis Nhema to explain the “anomaly”.

The Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator has been engaged in a turf war with Kasukuwere, who now heads the Environment portfolio, over the confusion surrounding Community Share Ownership Trusts’ funding by mining companies particularly those in Manicaland.

But yesterday, he denied that he had an axe to grind with Kasukuwere.

“We are friends actually but at times it will be about work so it’s not an issue,” he said when he was asked by the youths to explain their relationship.

Proud Nkomo from Matabeleland South told the committee that the majority of youths from his province who applied for the fund had been turned down under unclear circumstances.

Nkomo said the situation had seen university graduates who are failing to get employment turning to selling airtime and other wares as they struggle to make ends meet.

“Almost all our applications were not approved but we were never told exactly what we needed to do to access the funds. We call upon your committee to ensure youths are aware of the actual requirements in the future,” said Nkomo.

Meanwhile, Melody Dziva, a Zanu PF MP representing Midlands on proportional representation was dressed down by the youths after she responded to their assertion that unemployment rate in the country was more than 80 percent, saying if the figure was that high almost everyone would have been dead by now.

The youths did not take her comment lightly and demanded that the lawmaker give them the number of people who must die first for her and the Zanu PF government to appreciate challenges the youths were grappling with.

“It is surprising that an MP would want us to die first to realise that we are not employed and starving. Can that lady tell us now how many of us must die for her to get to terms with the reality that we need employment,” said one unidentified youth.
It took the intervention of Wadyajena who came to the rescue of Dziva, whose face had gone pale shaken after realising she had scored a spectacular political own-goal as the youths openly rebuked her.

“As the committee chairperson, I move to protect the honourable member.

“I am making a ruling that she is not going to respond to that, she does not wish the youths to die,” Wadyajena said much to the disgruntlement of the youths who wanted the MP to apologise.

Sensing that she had touched a raw nerve, Dziva gathered her courage and explained to the youths that she was basing her argument on the Zimstats unemployment statistics which puts the figure at just 11 percent, taking those in the informal sector such as vegetable vendors as being employed.

Comments (1)

Justice Mayor Wadyajena, is in ZANU-PF, the cult for patronage spoils. Now today you are trying to correct the very means which benefited you. That is why they are after your neck now. Just shut up up! If ZUNU-PF ran this country for the past 34 years with accountability and credibility we would not the broken country we are today. Tell me, is 11% unemployment in our country a credible figure? You are where you are by ZUNU-PF bullshit. You are too small to correct any of this bullshit. Sit back and enjoy the spoils!

Mbareboy - 6 July 2014

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