By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst
Thousands of youth turned up for aptitude tests as enumerators at various locations countrywide. The images circulating on social media of job seekers jostling for vantage positions in snaking queues hoping ‘Lady Luck’ would possibly smile at them are stomach-wrenching…….nay scary! It reveals absolute desperation on the part of our youth; the sooner this cancerous disease is diagnosed and treated, the better.
While a good number of them will obviously be selected for these part-time jobs; sadly, not all of them would make it. This is the legacy of the previous administration, unfortunately; inherent failure to create more jobs for our youth during their 10 years at the helm! Instead of working round the clock to get the economy back on track, they wasted time wining and dancing, plotting and scheming how to fix their opponents, and above all, involving themselves in corrupt activities.
It’s quite encouraging that the New Dawn Administration is doing everything possible to destroy the monster of youth unemployment. Out of 100877 that applied for the teaching jobs, at least 30500 were successful, and of the 137129 applicants for jobs in the health sector, no less than 10,000 made it. And as if to add icing to the cake, the Minister of Defence, Hon. Ambrose Lufuma has revealed that an additional 5000 soldiers will be recruited before the end of the year. This is how it should be!
However, we should be mindful that there are still thousands of more youth waiting to be employed……..some with employable skills, others without any semblance of skill at all. Whether we are in government or in the private sector, we ought to respond to the question of youth unemployment with supersonic speed! As Namibia-based academician, Prof. Kazhila Chinsembu foretells, the “youth-quake is coming” if we don’t treat this matter as an emergency.
What should be the way forward, some of you may ask?
The government might need to instigate an industrial revolution on one hand, and agrarian reforms on the other under the auspices of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Zambia National Service (ZNS), respectively.
There’s always a high demand for Soya beans in Brazil and Sweet beans in China; what is preventing us from breaking into this market when we have vast swathes of fertile land? And do we have to stand akimbo and watch as Angolans import their chickens and eggs all the way from Brazil when we equally have the means to produce these farm products? What about the fish that is hauled to Congo DR all the way from China, don’t we have abundant water bodies to grow the fish? The problem is that we all want to make fast money extracting chrome at the Black Mountain or operating Tuntembas!
Those that have been tasked to run ZNS and IDC, in collaboration with their line ministries, of course, must be proactive in leading the way in establishing sector-by-sector factories, which are going to add value to our minerals or farm produce as was demonstrated in Mwinilunga, North Western province recently.