Young people are the vanguards of the nation and the government will continue to uplift their lives to be masters of their own destiny, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Officially opening the 31st Junior Parliament Session which coincides with the commemoration of the Day of the African Child, President Mnangagwa said youths are the future and backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy.
Neville Mavu was elected Child President and the Day of the African Child was running under the theme “the Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment.”
“My Government is committed to uplifting the lives of young people who are the future and backbone of our economy as well as the vanguard of our nation.
“Today’s young people must prosper in the land that we fought hard for and won its independence as well as sovereignty,” he said.
He said the growing relationship between the Parliament and young people is evidence of a Government which has young people at heart.
“The remarks by the Speaker of the Junior Parliament and President of the Junior Senate remind us all that we are masters of our own destiny, capable of and expected to make our own laws that govern us and the decisions we make,” he said.
The Head of State also said the Youth Council must decentralize with immediate effect in line with the devolution policy.
“This will enhance your ability to consolidate views that come from the grassroots, that way ensuring that no one and no place is left behind.
“Furthermore, all our young people will have enhanced access to Government programmes and benefit from them, regardless of their location. Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo, Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo.
“In fulfilment of our commitment under the United Nations Sustainable Development Corporation Framework, Government will continue to collaborate with development partners, including from the United Nations Organisation, particularly those with a mandate to support child protection, education and skills development.
“This cooperation should be in line with Government priorities and respect our cultural norms and values”
The President urged members of the present Child Parliament to familiarise themselves with the Constitution as well as the various statutes of the nation in relation to children’s rights and responsibilities.
“Studying these instruments will not only help you in the appreciation of what has been done so far, but it will also inform and invite suggestions on identified gaps that need improvement.
“My Government is also developing youth institutions targeted at addressing the needs of our young people. The recently acquired Zimbabwe Youth Council offices 5 will be fully equipped to meet your needs,” he said.
Midway through his speech, President Mnangagwa said children should prioritise using technology to enable and enhance their access to high-quality inclusive education, including reliable resources for formal, non-formal, informal, peer-to-peer and self-directed learning.
“When used properly, the digital world promotes our children’s right to culture, leisure and play, which are essential for their well-being and development. Furthermore, the use of digital technologies such as computers, mobile phones and the internet can help to increase children’s participation at the local, national and international levels.
“Therefore, awareness of, and access to, digital means for children to express their views must be promoted and supported,” he said.
He also said the digital environment opens new avenues for children with disabilities to engage in social relations with their peers, access information and participate in public decision-making processes.
“In this regard, my Government is implementing policies and programmes to ensure that each and every child has equal and effective access to the digital ecosystem in ways that are meaningful for them and also in their best interests”