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Youths attack Kasukuwere - report





Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday came under fire from several youth organisations and individuals for failing to put water-tight measures to safeguard the $10 million Youth Development Fund from abuse, the anti-Kasukuwere Herald reported.

The fund was set up by Government in 2012 to help unemployed youths start businesses as part of empowerment initiatives, but disbursement has since been stopped owing to a high default rate estimated to be over 80 percent.

This came out here during a public hearing conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya legislator Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF).

During yesterday's hearing, youths recounted several irregularities which they said could have been avoided had policy measures been put in place.

Kasukuwere, who is now the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, was lambasted over his failure to put necessary measures aimed at raising awareness on the existence of the fund.

In one of the lists of beneficiaries read out by Wadyajena, at least 15 people from Victoria Falls who share the same surname benefited, thereby raising suspicion of possible collusion.

An official with Hwange Development Association said Minister Kasukuwere convened a meeting with youths at Chinotimba Hall in Victoria Falls in 2012, where they were told of the fund, but alleged that the disbursement was shrouded in secrecy.

"We also agreed with Minister Kasukuwere that there be a youth office here in Victoria Falls, but it was not taken seriously," said the official who did not give his name.

"We went to one of the financial institutions and were told that the money was already exhausted.

"Some of the people who benefited were from the Ministry of Youth and not ordinary young people. It was not done in an orderly way."

The youths also questioned why very few people in Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo provinces benefited compared to those in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central provinces.

Wadyajena told them that financial institutions had indicated that people from the southern provinces like Matabeleland South tended to cross to neighbouring South Africa, hence they were cautious in releasing the funds.

The youths dismissed the assertions.

One of the youths, Mr Clayton Mashoko, said he got $600 from an application of $2 500.

"I got far less than what I applied for, hence the money failed to make an impact, resulting in me failing repay all of it. I only repaid $280 from the $600 because I was not be able to buy enough materials," he said.

Wadyajena rapped deputy director in the ministry, Mr Taffi Mashonganyika, for failing to bring all the 10 youth officers in the district, as only two were in attendance.

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Youths attack Kasukuwere - report
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