President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged young people to be purposeful and focus on things that matter, pledging his government’s determination to ensuring that matters relating to children and youths are effectively dealt with.

The President said this when he addressed junior parliamentarians at the City Sports Centre this afternoon for the official opening of the 27th session of the Junior Parliament of Zimbabwe and Day of African Child commemorations.

“My government is committed to engagements with various stakeholders such as the Junior Parliament. I am always ready to listen to you, our children, with a view to addressing your concerns. The future is ours together, he said.

The President added that his Administration will prioritise policies to improve quality of life of Zimbabweans, especially children, and this include rehabilitating schools affected by Cyclone Idai and building more.

Cde Mnangagwa also said much still needs to be done to ensure all children enjoy their basic human rights even though a lot has been done since the Soweto uprising.

The official opening of the Junior Parliament session was held concurrently with commemorations to mark the Day of the African Child, which is celebrated on the 16th of June.

The day is marked in memory of South African children who were killed in Soweto while demonstrating against the use of Afrikaans as an official language at school.

UNICEF Country Representative, Laylee Moshiri applauded Zimbabwe’s high literacy rate and urged the government to renew its commitment to education for all.

She also called for systematic measures to ensure every child has a birth certificate.

Child President Mukudzeiishe Madzivire had earlier on urged the government to put in place measures to effectively deal with cases of child exploitation and abuse.

He however commended the government for urgent response to Cyclone Idai in Chimanimani, requested the government to organise a special belated Day of the African Child in Chimanimani.

About 139 schools were affected during March’s cyclone, while more than 19 000 school children were also affected.

The Junior Parliament was established in 1996 with a view of promoting participation and empowerment of children.