WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabwe's Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment has introduced stringent regulations that compel all youth organizations to register with the government-run Youth Council or risk being shut down.
The regulations were gazetted January 18, but were only made public Monday, thanks to Veritas, a civic group specializing in legislative analysis.
They also dictate that youth groups should submit annual reports and accounts, as well as work plans and budgets to the Youth Council, which is largely viewed as an extension of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
Youth organizations are also compelled to pay an annual levy to the council.
The severe provisions were fashioned by combative Youth and Indeginization Minister Savior Kasukuwere, the architect of the widely-condemned black empowerment policy that forces foreign-owned companies to cede a 51 percent stake to locals.
Veritas described Kasukuwere’s regulations as “exteremely wide-ranging,” urging youth groups to consult their legal advisers and challenge the validity of the provisions.
"As a matter of first impression," Veritas said, "the regulations seem to go much further than the (Zimbabwe Youth Council) Act permits."
National Youth Develeopment Trust director, Liberty Bhebhe told VOA his organization views the move as an effort by Zanu PF to gag youth groups ahead of the referendum and general elections.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean youths say they are happy about employment and economic empowerment proposals contained in the country’s final draft constitution.
They told VOA Studio 7 that this is the first time youths have been recognized in the supreme law of the country, although there may be challenges in implementing some of the constitutional provisions.
Chapter Two, Section 20 of the draft stipulates that youths should be afforded opportunities for employment and economic empowerment.
Bulawayo youth, Minenhle Tshuma, said government should craft vocational training programs to fully empower young people.
Jim Kunaka, chairman of Zanu PF’s Harare province, agreed saying if the draft charter is passed into law, the constitution could be amended to enforce youth economic empowerment.