YOUNG PEOPLE: THE MISSING VOICE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION – COMMEMORATING YOUTH MONTH
Corruption like any other vice has seen young people being denied opportunities that could contribute to their social, economic and political development. A case in point has been the rise of nepotism, favouritism and even tribalism in the employment sector. Young people who are not “connected” or “linked” to those in positions of power are being denied employment opportunities thereby subsequently failing to get economic means of survival. This aspect has further cascaded to the education and health sectors. Sadly enough, young women have been found to be on the receiving end of corruption within those two sectors as they have been forced to offer sex as a currency to receive what in most cases should be offered to them. From this view point it is evident that people in influential positions have made the system or the cost of compliance far difficult for young people to enjoy basic socio-economic rights.
It is also disturbing to note that corruption has become a norm and is now accepted amongst the youths. A perusal view from young people indicates they have coined phrases to justify the various forms of corruption they encounter every day. Some of these include ukudiza, ukutopola, esincane, kugura, donhedza and many other. It was revealed in meetings conducted by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI Z) that young people at times mock those that fail to bribe in order to get a service. The 2012 Youth and Corruption Baseline Study by TI Z showed that 20% of young people in Zimbabwe are not willing to talk about corruption. They perceive corruption to be a sensitive topic that is political in nature. The study indicated that young people in Zimbabwe are not empowered enough to take a leading role in the fight against corruption. In light of the above TI Z recommends that:
-The Government should, through various ministries create public spheres for youths to participate in decision-making processes,
– Civil society should build strong partnerships to consolidate and sustain youth participation in anti-corruption,
– Youths need to rely on the power of social networks and technology to enhance their impact on anti-corruption.
TI Z is of the view that youths are leaders of today, not just tomorrow. Young people are the backbone of the economy and as such should strive to advocate for transparency, integrity and accountability in all their undertakings. By utilizing technology and adopting social media platforms the youth can fight corruption. TI Z is currently running a youth anti-corruption campaign challenge under the hashtag #IVoiceZw and is encouraging all the young people to take part by recording a 60 second video stating how they are taking part in the fight against corruption. Visit the TI Z Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/tizimbabwe for more details.