Youths from across the country have high hopes that President Robert Mugabe will address several issues that will uplift their livelihoods when he meets them in Marondera on Saturday.
The first of President Mugabe’s ‘Meet the Youths’ rallies is scheduled for Rudhaka Stadium in the Mashonaland East provincial capital on June 3.
The youths who spoke to the ZBC News in Marondera said they expect Cde Mugabe to address the issue of residential stands which has been outstanding for a long time now.
They also said they want President Mugabe to assist them in getting funds to start income generating projects as most of them are not employed.
In Manicaland Province, the youths described Cde Mugabe’s tour of provinces as the golden opportunity that will transform their livelihoods.
They said they expect, among other things, the President accelerate the implementation of youths empowerment programmes and create more funds for youth projects.
The sentiments were also echoed by youths in Matabeleland North Province, who confirmed that they will be attending President Mugabe’s first youth rally in Marondera.
Others said the visit by the President in various provinces should put to finality the growing calls to allocate youths pieces of land for agricultural purposes and the speedy regularisation of farm sizes to accommodate the landless youths.
In Bulawayo, most youths believe their interaction with President Mugabe will open up employment opportunities and bring closure to the contentious housing stands issue for the youths under Umvutcha Housing Scheme that seem to be facing some challenges.
Bulawayo was promised 20 000 stands in phase one which were to be allocated to youths through the Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP).
The stands are part of the government’s ZIMASSET targets to provide 300 000 housing stands by 2018 across the country.
While most youths preferred empowerment in the form of the availing of residential stands and youth funds, some in the resort town of Victoria Falls highlighted the need for capacity building programmes in light of the importance of harnessing the youth dividend in the country’s transformation drive.
They called for the establishment of more vocational training centres in Matabeleland North Province and increased participation in the tourism business which is a major economic activity in the resort town.
Apart from the abundant natural resource base and a well-diversified economy, a young and dynamic population has been cited as one of the country comparative advantages.
According to many observers, harnessing of the youth dividend is critical in the country’s economic growth prospects.