CHUNGU Kachega, a youth aspiring for the Matero seat, says youths need a conducive environment that will allow them to access national resources not money.
Updating the nation on the COVID-19 situation last Thursday, President Edgar Lungu said his government had work to do and directed the Minister of Youth, and Sports to find opportunities under the Seventh National Development Plan for the youth to venture into skills training and other entrepreneurship ventures.
“The youth should take advantage of the opportunities available and those that my government has facilitated. I expect the Ministry of Youth and Sport to provide leadership in a multi-sectoral manner as they guide the youth to become a positive demographic dividend in our economy amidst COVID-19,” he said.
President Lungu announced a K30 million youth empowerment scheme targeting artistes countrywide to be launched in Lusaka soon and implemented by the National Arts Council.
“I direct the Ministry of Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, and the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to facilitate linkage for the youth to benefit from the development of industrial yards through the skills development and entrepreneurship project supported by the African Development Bank,” he said. “Furthermore, government is facilitating youth access to other empowerment programmes under the CEEC such as the cassava value chain programme and the acquaculture value chain initiative.”
He also announced $29 million for the implementation of the acquaculture seed fund under the Zambia Acquaculture Enterprise Development Project.
“Therefore, I implore the Zambian youth to take keen interest in participating and profiting from different empowerment initiatives my government is putting in place, instead of protesting in the bush and taking pride in how many views of their protests where seen on social media,” said President Lungu.
However, a number of youths and prominent individuals have criticized President Lungu’s money response to concerns by youths.
In a statement, Kachega stated that the latest presidential address to the national makes him wonder why politicians think money is best thing to give to youths while there was no conducive environment for them to access national resources.
“President Edgar Lungu’s address to the nation on Thursday makes me and other youths laugh and wonder why politicians always think money solves it all,” he said. “What we as youths want is not money, money can be given to us today and the next few days it disappears. What we want is a conducive environment that will allow us have access to the national resources that are being enjoyed by non- Zambians. As a youth that keenly follows governance issues in this country, I’ve on a number of times conducted some checks in the constituency and it always baffles me to see that people making blocks are Lebanese or people from Turkey, on the other hand we have a few Zambians that face stiff competition and have since fallen out of this business.”
Kachega added that the government had failed to come up with policies that empower Zambians.
“Proper youth empowerment will be government strictly leaving the business of cleaning in Zambia to indigenous Zambians unlike the current state of affairs where 90 per cent of cleaning companies are foreign owned,” he said. “Look at the suppliers at the mines; it’s either they are PF cadres or long time senior citizens who continue to disadvantage youths even after making a fortune that generations will see.”
Kachenga added that oppressing youths was a time bomb for the PF government.
“Government must not forget that these foreigners have blessings from their respective governments as well as financial support. Has this government ever encouraged or supported any Zambians to invest abroad?” he asked. “Oppression of alternative voices has become the order of the day and this in turn will be creating a time bomb to the current regime; youths breathe when they air out what affects them. Zambia is blessed with abundant natural resources that can benefit all citizens if well managed in all corners of this country, let politics be out of governance.”