For decades Zimbabwe and other African countries have been affected by a generational gap, where youth have been excluded from enjoying their various social and economic rights.
A generation gap is a difference of opinions between one generation and the other relating to beliefs, politics, or values (Clapham 2012). It can also refer to a perceived gap between younger people and their parents or grandparents.
In Zimbabwe, there is a disconnect between the liberation generation and the new generation, the old guard leaders in our countries have been overtaken by the demands of this generation. Youth therefore, have been deprived of their right to fully enjoy social and economic rights. Youth have suffered ever since through lack on inclusion in development policies and implementation of these policies.
Unemployment has been on the rise and economic privileges have always fallen away from youth of today. These negative effects have left many us youth to become educated vendors and entrepreneurs. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the impact and the effects already facing youth. Many Governments have taken that opportunity to further the generational gap, and stiffening its policies. Social rights on freedoms to demonstrate, the right expression among others have continued to be hardened leaving youth of Zimbabwe without space to freely express their needs and boldly speak on their socio-economic interests.
The post-COVID-19 era like many other non-pandemic years requires inclusion of youth in the policy process. Transparency should not have any social boundaries and our leaders should be cognisant of the need to appreciate the new world order which is favourable and flexible to youth in Zimbabwe.
The need to safeguard power through liberation gains though fundamental, it should be further consolidated with new innovations and ideas that are not related to political implications. The youth should be relevant after the COVID-19 pandemic and as economies open up. Our leaders should therefore see and appreciate the role of youth in social and economic development. There is need for our leaders to address social inequalities where youth have become a discriminated group through the gap that is appearing between the old leaders and the youth generation. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the ills and unfair treatment of youth in Zimbabwe. Hence, government should take note of these challenges and reconcile finding solutions to these problems.
In conclusion, the generational gap has had negative implications on youth fully enjoying social and economic rights. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed these negative impacts as many unemployed youth have failed to fully enjoy social and economic rights. Many challenges that youth faced during the pandemic are a result of being excluded in many development agendas and implementation of policies that affect their soci-economic lives.
Thomas Gwanzura is a 26 year old youth. He is a holder of a social science degree in Peace and Governance from Bindura University of Science Education. Thomas has worked as a research assistant with PHD students and other publishers.