By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
The Open Society Foundation is ready to launch tomorrow, the 12th March 2012 at Suwilanji Gardens at 14:00hrs. This will also include the unveiling of the Red Card Campaign on Youth Jobs as initiative championing economic freedom and justice. The build up to the launch has been an exciting journey. We have received threats on our lives, but we do not care because we are all going to die one day.
We are not shaken by the ‘unkown’ callers who threaten our lives for calling on the youth and jobs agenda. If anyone is serious about the threats, they might as well go ahead and do it. Our blood will water the tree of justice and one day, justice will be accorded to the youth of Zambia. We are unstoppable and are not shaken by any man. We are justified to do what we are doing because Zambia is a rich country and youths are heirs to Zambia’s great resources. We wish to put it clear that we do not exist to just criticise without offering solutions to the problem. Tommorow, we will present to the nation specific interventions Government can take in addressing youth uemployment and at that point, Government can react, indicacting what they are doing and seek to do.
This year’s Youth Day will be marked as one different from the rest because youths from different parts of the country will march for Jobs. This is part of their constitutional right and nothing should stop them for as long as they conduct themselves peacefully. Our appeal to the Police Service is that they must remain professional and refuse to act under political pressure. The Soweto Sharpville massacre of 1976 in South Africa has remained a dark cloud in the history of the world because the police resolved to use force instead of their brains. They refused to act professionally and killed innocent young South Africans and everyone knows that from that day, South Africa was never the same. I am asking Inspector General Libongani to instruct her officers to preserve the peace in all our Provinces where youths may decide to exercise theor constitutional right to protest.
The Ministry of Youth and Sport is one dinousar on the brink of extinction. This is evident with this year’s theme: ” Accelerating Youth’s Empowerment for Sustainable Youth Development” which in our view remains a useless and meaningless one. We urge all youths to demand that their real state of affairs be reflected tomorrow. We are also sure that there is nothing for the youth to celebrate about tomorrow. Majority of our youth are unemployed and less empowered.
The streets of cities tell this sad story and yet Government expects these to go and march past political leaders when they are not putting something realistic for youths on the table. Anyone who is comfortable with the state of the youth needs to take a walk along Katondo, Cha Cha Cha, Cairo, Independence and Great East Roads to see what youths are subjected to in Zambia. There are those who have resigned themselves to drinking and other vices and this picture is spread out across the country. There cannot be business as usual, we need to start acting on the state of the youth. The starting point remains Government and then other players will come on board.
Lastly, we appeal for youths across the country planning to demonstrate to ensure that they do within the confines of the law. We only have one Zambia and the greatest duty each one of us has is to make this country a better place. Tomorrow is youth day, it is the right day to be heard.
Sunday Chanda is the Executive Director for Open Society Foundation