Celebrating Youth Day in poverty

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President Lungu

By David Kapoma

Before I get down to my own view on why politicians keep our youth in abject scarcity, allow me to steal the words of a PF Die-hard Maxwell Chongo. My good brother complained bitterly, insinuating that our youth are living in abject poverty including himself. He alleged that even those in the PF are complaining and feeling the economic stress. It was as if he was reading my mind when drafting his submission. 
 
What is disappointing in his rantings however is the sense of entitlement the PF members seem to have regarding awarding of contracts. In his comment, he surprisingly challenges the minister of housing to work with the National Youth Executive Committee of the Patriotic Front when implementing construction projects. His whinge partly explains why we have a challenge with young people in this country. We seem to be so happy with waiting for those with the instruments of power to give us the things we desire. We can’t think of how we can make it in life on our own. Maxwell cried bitterly that most contracts are given to the Chinese forgetting the PF youths who campaigned strongly for president Lungu. .
 
The sad news for Max and his friends is that the PF won’t give them true and sustainable empowerment. It is in the DNA of politicians in Africa to identify talents in young people and use it for their own gain. The PF leadership will ensure that Max and friends remains in the state of poverty unless they decide to learn something from Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo. This is the only way the PF can remain in control of their youths such as Maxwell. The fear from the PF is that if the youths are given proper empowerment then the party won’t have heavies to use in 2021.
 
In Zambia today, we have a lot of young people who have constantly remained subjects and have failed to graduate to the level of being citizens.
 
The difference between the two is that a subject acts according to what they are instructed by their pay master, it does not matter whether the action is legal or illegal. A subject never asks questions WHY, they just act.
 
A citizen on the other hand makes an informed decision. Citizens are empowered with knowledge and material things also. A citizen won’t do something because they are being given a K50, NOT AT ALL. Every decision a citizen makes is a conscious decision based on principle. Until we get to a time when we usher into government the kind of leadership that will believe in creating a conducive environment for the young people to thrive in business and careers, our youth will continue lurching in poverty.
 
The current PF leadership does not have the capacity and political will to ensure that the young people in this country are lifted off the poverty data line. It seems as though the PF carried over from where the MMD left in terms of subjecting our people to poverty and yet hoard wealth for themselves and their families.
 
As I conclude, I wish to remind us that until now over 60% of our people live below the poverty line with circa 42% classified as being extremely poor. This figure represents just about half of our population. Due to poor health care coupled with high poverty level, life expectancy in Zambia stands at only 37 years  making our country the fourth-lowest in the world.
 
It is therefore important that moving forward we find a lasting solution to the many challenges our young men and women like Maxwell Chongu and others are faced with. Next week we shall look at some of the workable solutions the future government can implement in order to reduce poverty in our great nation. We need to lift our young generation from entirely depending on government and begin creating wealth at personal and community level.
 
Lastly I wish to thank our women for being such great inspiration in our lives. To the youth, I urge you to stand up, be counted and be the change you want to see. Dare to ‘Believe Again’.
 
God bless Zambia.
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