By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a (Political/Social Analyst)
Early last month, the youth woke-up wee hours of the day and trooped to the polls en mass to exercise their democratic right. By the time they got there, the place was already teeming with queues stretching miles and miles away. They had no qualms about it…….they waited on the queues hours on end to cast their votes. Their mission was simple – to deliver a red card to PF on account of rampant corruption and failure to create job opportunities for the youth, among other things.
Quiet understandably, expectations amongst the youth remain high. However, mindful of where we are coming from, they’ve elected to give time to government to actualize its promises. Even when the likes of Kasonde Mwenda of EFF chose to chain himself to the mposa mabwe in Kitwe’s CBD in the blistering glare of sunlight, the youth chose to ignore him save for a handful of street kids. They are usually hanging out there anyway to ambush members of the public trooping-out of Pick and Pay for some loose coins!
A student from CBU who found himself on the scene by accident, argued that it’s too early to make such demands from a government which is barely a couple of weeks in office. We sympathize with Kasonde…..he has to somehow pull up some superman stunts to endear him to a skeptical public to make up for the embarrassing zeroes he accumulated during the polls just like his peer, Sean Tembo of little-known PEP.
Everyone is aware this country suffered the worst economic strangulation and stagnation at the hands of the PF regime. Very little was done to reboot our once thriving manufacturing industry, while the leadership equally waited on our Lord to turn things around in the agriculture sector! Remember them trooping to the Show grounds like Pharisees to fast and pray while they still indulged in SIN?
Anyway, it would still be illogical for us to sit idle and continue playing blame games back and forth, while waiting for a miracle to occur. It must be appreciated the youth voted for change, and they expect nothing but change! What magical wand can then Bally weave around to instantly absorb the army of youths into some meaningful economic activities?
Seeing that the UPND manifesto is mainly hankered on agriculture, it would only be fair to start looking in that direction for possible solutions in the medium term. And this is of course where ZNS comes in.
Our country is endowed with fertile soils, favourable rainfall patterns and enormous water bodies. With the right training under the auspices of ZNS coupled with seed capital, the youth can venture into agriculture and gradually graduate themselves into instant millionaires!
We’ll cite one example. After graduating from University abroad, one Maria Zaloumis, otherwise commonly known as the Zed farmer, didn’t come back home to apply make-up, put on nice clothes and embark on job hunting while exuding the most expensive cologne. She instead tucked her degree away and jumped into a work suit and gumboots to work the soil! And where’s she today? She can now boast of an impressive book balance that would leave many of us with jaws dripping with saliva!
There’s a lot that our youth can do with our natural resources to make money:
Our country boasts of one of the best water bodies in the region! What is stopping us from motivating the youth to take to fish farming in places such as Luapula, Western and N/western provinces where suitable conditions exist?
Most of us would agree that daily, we see countless truckloads of livestock pounding our roads from Southern province to the evergreen market at Kasumbalesa border post. Our friends are minting gold! Is animal husbandry so complex that it cannot be replicated in other parts of the country as long as there’s political will?
The market in Congo DR remains ‘thirst’ for more maize, groundnuts and cassava etc. Are we waiting for the Chinese to come in and grab this golden opportunity and then we start complaining? What about the tobacco and cotton that does well in the soils of Eastern province? Isn’t this something the youth should be growing for export abroad?
While the youth in rural areas can be producing agri-produce, those in urban areas can be doing value addition churning out produce such as peanut butter, cooking oil, honey and various meat products.
It’s not a secret that some chiefs have continued to make a fortune from timber business as their impoverished subjects continue wallowing in poverty! The youth must equally be allowed to benefit from timber by making finished products instead of just exporting the logs in raw form.
One would argue that what about the Copperbelt as the soil is acid……When the ban on mining activities at mine dumps finally elapses, the youth must be allowed to go and claim their share as cooperatives. Previously, only a few selfish individuals were benefitting from these dumpsites at the expense of hundreds of youths who took the plunge into bowels of the earth to extract copper ore!
We haven’t left you out ba ‘some-of-us’ in Lusaka. ….the Minister of technology has a mammoth task creating our very own Silicone Valley in Matero! Instead of wasting time cyber bullying on the computer, the youth are expected to come up with new innovations in software and internet services.