By JOHN SAKALA
National Democratic Congress (NDC) National Youth Chairperson Charles Kabwita says the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) has failed the Zambian youth by its failure to empower youth with skill development.
Speaking to The Independent Observer, Mr Kabwita said any country that does not invest in its young population, sets itself for failure in the now and the future agenda.
He said alleviating poverty needs deployment and employment of relevant skills which is one area where a youth in Zambia are lacking.
“The youth have been failed by those tasked with the responsibility to empower them. Skills development has to be prioritised by the ruling Patriotic Front, PF, government to bridge the gap of industry, service provision and youth employment.
“A lot of youths are willing to learn and have the strength to work and contribute to our economy meaningfully, but the ruling PF government has failed to outline Youth empowerment programmes to sustain a youth who is wallowing in abject poverty,” he said.
Mr Kabwita said the creation of employment for the youth in Zambia remains a major source of concern and the PF government seems not to have ideas on how to improve the lives of the youth in the country.
He said most young people are jobless with no proper educational backgrounds, making it difficult for the labor market to engage them.
“The challenge of youth unemployment has led to increased criminal acts, especially on the Copperbelt. Such youths are turning to be a huge social menace instead of an asset and much valued human resource.
“Young people in our country account for more than 80% of the population. Therefore, NDC, in government shall prioritise educating the youth. The NDC recognizes the key role a youth plays in developing the economy and in addition to education, we will prioritise youth skills development and employment when we form government.
“My youth leaders at all levels have been meeting across the country in order to enable my office with activities that help improve the living standards of the youth in their respective provinces. This is what PF have failed to do for the majority youth who are jobless,” he said.
He said the empowerment that is currently being undertaken under PF Government is Black Mountain where only youths who are on PF structures are given access to work at the black mountain.
Mr Kabwita said the initiative by Nkana Alloy to give 10% of its slug damp to government is commendable, though the selective application of empowerment to PF youths only, leaves much to be desired.
“The NDC in government will depoliticize the awarding of employment opportunities to Zambians regardless of one’s political affiliation,” he said.