What HH said on youth day

STATEMENT ON YOUTH DAY

I fully acknowledge and appreciate that today is youth day.

However, it is not out of lack of patriotism that I have supported the stand taken by our UPND youths and their counter parts from other opposition political parties that have chosen to stay away from any sort of celebrations on this day.

We find it totally heart breaking that almost 50 years of independence, we still have politicians who lack basic understanding and urgency for a new constitution which they promised themselves.

This lack of integrity and honesty by our colleagues in government does not inspire us to urge our youths to emulate and participate in national day celebrations.

Like many other citizens, the youths were equally cheated by the PF government on many things.

The large number of our youths that are largely responsible for putting PF in office voted them on the premise that they would urgently deliver a constitution that would guarantee basic fundamental freedoms and human rights that would ensure accountability and good governance.

But just yesterday, the hopes of the youths who are the future generations were again trashed by the PF MPs who voted against our motion that would have given clear road map for a people driven constitution.

Our youths were also cheated on the provision of decent and permanent jobs, and yet our colleagues in the PF have not come back and explain to the youth why the jobs have not been created.

We find it difficult to encourage our youths to celebrate under an environment where we have a President who, while launching a project at the airport, was told that youths were killing each other a few meters from where he was, he decided to ignore and chose to run away.

We find it difficult to celebrate when the youths are still struggling to get into school, and when they are struggling to make ends meet.

Each year we offload more than 150,000 grade twelve school leavers without any glimmer of hope that they will ever live in a country where advancement is limited only by your ability and not lack of opportunities as the case is with Zambia

Let me take this opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to the youth when we take over Government.

As UPND, we reaffirm our commitment to the provision of quality and affordable education through a well-managed and professional bursary scheme that will not discriminate or be based on who you know.

We are also looking forward to the provision of quality health services, especially reproductive health aimed at adolescents.

My pledge to create jobs for the youths has not been shelved. I have shared some of the strategies with the current Government but they are not interested. When I write, they respond by calling me names. We are of the view that Government cannot and will never create enough jobs to absorb the youths. The best option is to promote youth entrepreneurs who will in turn create employment for others.

That is the only sustainable way to ensure that jobs will be created. We are importing a lot of things that can be manufactured in Zambia by our youths if we have the right policy mix and adequate venture capital.

We are constructing roads and none of the youth are involved in that road construction, simply because there is no deliberate policy in Government to do contract discrimination to benefit the women and youth that can supply building materials to construction companies.

On this youth day, my message is simple, come 2016, let us work together and ensure that we vote for the UPND that will deliver true economic freedom and opportunities for our youth to thrive.

We voted for a Government that promised jobs to youths but is now employing people that are above retirement age. Let us not make this mistake again, twachula pafula.

Take this time to reflect on the Zambia you want to live in and then see who can deliver that Zambia for you, we already know the answer, UPND.

For now, we can only urge you to be good citizens and refrain from being used for violent behavior and other socially unacceptable vices.

Hakainde Hichilema,

President

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