by Yollander Millin
The youth in Bulawayo have expressed concerns over the effects of increasing public debt on their social and economic welfare, and have called on both local and national authorities to put their views on this into consideration.
In an event organized by Youth Innovation Trust, in partnership with Action aid Zimbabwe, Activista and ZIMCODD Social and economic justice ambassadors, the youth submitted to representatives from the Bulawayo City council and the Ministry of youth, a position paper in which they had compiled economic concerns as a result of debt.
In the position paper, the youth outlined lived challenges in health, education, food security, rising unemployment and concerns over the findings of the Auditor Generals report, which outlined gross violations of public finances in public institutions. They gave recommendations and had “asks” that included the need for a public debt audit .
The event was running under the theme ” debt is slavery of the free”, and saw an impressive number of youth coming together in solidarity against debt, using art and music to raise awareness on debt and debt distress.
Zimbabwe was declared by International Monetary Fund to be in debt distress, meaning it has unsustainable debts, some of which dating as back as pre-independence and most likely some of the debts being odious.
There is need for the youth to position themselves in matters of debt contraction seeing they have the obligation, and carry the burden of servicing the debts, and the youths in Bulawayo have taken the initiative to talk about public debt.
In other related initiatives, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), under their #HowFar campaign that seeks to demand transparency and accountability from duty bearers, is pushing for a debt audit and has scheduled engagements with multiple stakeholders in efforts to bring meaning to Zimbabwe’s debt management.