Youths bitter over fund


BULAWAYO youths have urged more transparency from the Old Mutual Kurera/Ukondla youth fund, claiming young people from the region were deliberately sidelined and massive looting by undeserving people.


Speaking at the just-ended Ideas Festival organised by National Youth Development Trust (NYDT), the youths complained that there was no transparency in the funding of projects in Bulawayo as most of their applications were not considered or at least being given responses even if they were turned down.

NYDT director Liberty Bhebhe said it had come to light before the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that there was a legislator who had received $32 380 in June 2012 for a bakery project.

“It was during a committee meeting that it was discovered that the loans were being given to undeserving people and the evidence was produced,” he said.

The committee heard that an unknown individual, with a questionable physical address on Lobengula Street in Bulawayo had received $420 000, Bhebhe said.

The maximum loan an individual can access is $10 000, raising questions how someone could receive $420 000.

The Old Mutual Kurera/Ukondla fund was set up in an effort to create employment and act as a stimulus for economic growth in the country.

It targeted youths between the ages of 18 and 35 years, who could participate in the mainstream economy.

However, since its inception, it has been rocked by distribution scandals, with Matabeleland youths claiming their proposals were being unfairly rejected.

The youths complained that the number of beneficiaries did not tally with actual recipients.

“Why are most of our project proposals not being taken into consideration?” one participant asked. “At least we should get responses when the projects are rejected so that we know where we could have gone wrong. If possible, we should be given a chance to defend our proposals, as some might not look good on paper, but when explained they make sense.”

In response, director, Godwin Phiri, said the youths should press the funding organisations for responses.

“Youths are passive. They have copied the habit of keeping quiet as they are not raising questions about the implementation of funds,” he said.