By Simbisai Shonhiwa
ON April 18, 1980 Zimbabwe was declared an independent
Locals rejoiced. It had not been an easy road to freedom
and efforts by sons and daughters of the soil who had
taken up arms against the Ian Smith colonial regime had
The country was back in the hands of its rightful owners.
For years locals, had been living under the brutal colonial
regime that not only stripped them of their dignity but also
In Rhodesia, blacks had been reduced to third class
citizens.It was the whiteman who was enjoying the fruits
of the land.
The country and its vast natural resources that include
land, water and minerals was being enjoyed by the whites
and heirs of the heritage were getting nothing. Angered by
the unfair treatment, blacks took up arms and fought the
Rhodesia had to fall. Indeed the whiteman’s dream
crumbled and a new Zimbabwe was born. Back in charge
of the country, it was now time to rebuild. Zimbabweans
had to work hard to restore their lost pride, dignity and
After all, that is what they had fought for. Determination
and perseverance was required and the ZANU PF-led
Government backed its people in the drive to empower
Since the country attained independence, various
empowerment programmes have been put in place.The
United Nations, through its Sustainable Development
Goals, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 recognises
both youth and women as central to inclusive and
sustainable economic growth.
ZANU PF has heeded the call and availed various
empowerment programmes for women and youths.
During the colonial era, women were sidelined as the
colonial Government did not recognise them as equal
beings. As such, black women were left out in terms of
empowerment programmes. However, thanks to the ZANU
PF-led Government, the status of women is changing.
In its 2018 People’s Manifesto, ZANU PF committed itself
to increasing the role and status of women as well as uplift
their dignity through programmes that speak to their needs
and aspirations. When the Land Reform Programme was
adopted, women were given the opportunity to access
land. This has resulted in a growing number of women
venturing into commercial farming of crops such as
maize, tobacco and livestock production.
Small scale women farmers have taken over the production
of small grains such as peanuts, roundnuts, sunflowers as
well as the rearing of chickens, goats, sheep and pigs.
A Women’s Bank was also launched to help women
access financial loans to start up various empowerment
activities. Value addition is one of the concepts that has
been introduced as part of the empowerment drive.
This has resulted in women being engaged in projects
to train on how to produce peanut butter, essential oils,
jams, soap and detergents, among other things. The Party
through the Women’s League introduced the Command
Bakeries Programme under which women are trained on
how to produce confectionery products, bread and scones
These products are sold in various communities.
To date, more than 3 000 Dutch ovens have been set
up across the country under the programme. Just as
women are an important constituency, the centrality and
importance of youths as pillars of the present and future
of the country cannot be overemphasised.
As such, ZANU PF has rolled out empowerment
programmes for youths. The move is aimed at reducing
unemployment levels in the country. Youths have been
presented with opportunities in mining and agriculture,
among other key sectors. Youths in ZANU PF have vowed
to ensure that young people are given opportunities to
contribute to the nation’s development agenda.
Addressing the media earlier this year after giving a
public lecture at Gweru Polytechnic College, ZANU PF
Youth League Deputy Secretary Lewis Matutu said the
youth wing was committed to working towards the
improvement of the lives of youths. “Idleness is very
dangerous and we want to ensure that our young people
feel accommodated,” he said. “We are spelling the vision
2030 to our young people so that we also inculcate the
spirit of entrepreneurship.”
President Mnangwagwa has continued to reiterate the
need to focus more on the economy and less on politics.
And the various empowerment programmes initiated and
implemented by ZANU PF are a show that the Party has
heeded President Mnangagwa’s call.