Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa looks on as he gives a media conference at the State House in Harare, Zimbabwe, August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

YOUTHS from the country’s 10 provinces will today be travelling to Harare for this year’s National Youth Day commemorations that will be held in the capital tomorrow.

The youths will tomorrow partake in a clean-up campaign where they will be joined by President Mnangagwa, who will be the guest of honour. The commemorations will also see the launch of the National Drug Abuse Fund which was proposed in the 2022 National Budget.

Running with the theme “Alleviate Substance and Drug Abuse by the Youth”, the National Youth Day will be celebrated by young people from all walks of life in Harare at Robert Mugabe Square. Scores of people are expected to congregate at the Square where celebrations through music, dance and poetry will take place.

Principal Director in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Dr Benson Dube said all was in place for this year’s celebrations.

“We have arranged that youths from all the provinces will be travelling on Sunday to Harare, there will also be the 11th province which will be the youths from tertiary institutions.

From the assembly points they will conduct clean-up campaigns towards Robert Mugabe Square, with the President also expected to be part of the clean-up. The main commemorations will be at the square, where the Guest of Honour will lead proceedings,” said Dr Dube.

In a Concept note on the commemoration of the National Youth Day by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation together with Zimbabwe Youth Council, the Ministry said the Government has taken into cognisant the demographic structure and the role which young people had in driving the socio-economic transformation of the country hence the need to address drug abuse.

“Young people are an important and intricate part of the national economic eco-system. Zimbabwe seeks to transform into an upper middle-class economy by 2030.

It is incumbent upon young people to be the major contributors to the achievement of Vision 2030. However, with the threat of drug and substance abuse there is an ever-growing fear of failing to harness the youth economic dividend for this feat.

As such the commemorations seek to address and raise awareness on this rising evil in society. The commemorations will also see the President appointing an ambassador to help in the fight against drug and substance abuse.

The objective of the National Youth Day will be to raise awareness on the effects of substance and drug abuse among the youth. The commemorations will also see the launch the National Drug Abuse Fund proposed in the 2022 National Budget,” reads the note.

Research shows that drug abuse is prevalent in urban areas and above 57 percent among young people. The National Youth Day is a national holiday which was set aside to honour the late National Hero and former President Cde Robert Mugabe, who led the country at independence in 1980 until 2017.

Cde Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 and passed away on 6 September 2019.

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