Minister bemoans impact of drug abuse on youth

Ncube made the remarks during a youth conference hosted by the Council of Churches in Africa led by bishop Rocky Moyo in Bulawayo at the weekend.

BULAWAYO Metropolitan Affairs and Devolution minister Judith Ncube has bemoaned the harrowing impact of drug and substance abuse on the city’s youth, saying the severity of the situation is being felt  at Ingutsheni Hospital, where even 10-year-old children are being treated for drug abuse.

Ncube made the remarks during a youth conference hosted by the Council of Churches in Africa led by bishop Rocky Moyo in Bulawayo at the weekend.

The conference was held to tackle drug and substance abuse among children in Bulawayo.

“I recently attended a meeting organised by the Roman Catholic Church, which included young people and church members,” Ncube said.

“As I listened to the speakers, I was overwhelmed with emotion and cried, pleading with God to protect His children in Bulawayo and Zimbabwe.

“The enemy [drug and substance abuse] has targeted and surrounded our youth, causing immense harm. The situation at Ingutsheni Hospital is dire, with even 10-year-old children suffering from drug abuse, affecting both boys and girls.”

Ncube said there was need for Zimbabwe to stay focused on attaining Vision 2030.

“However, if our youth continue to fall victim to drugs, they will be unable to progress. Currently, drug dealers are targeting schoolchildren by selling drugs in small, affordable sachets, making it easy for any child to purchase them,” she said.

“This situation is alarming, as children return home and refuse to listen to their parents. We must come together as the community of Bulawayo to combat this crisis.

“We need to determine if these drugs are being used as a weapon to destroy Africa. Our children are facing tremendous challenges and it is our responsibility to find solutions and protect their future.”

Moyo said the church aimed to empower young people to avoid harmful behaviours and make positive choices for themselves.

“They (youth) must stand up as the future of our country, asserting their right to make decisions that align with their values.

“Another significant concern is the high rate of pregnancies among young girls, leading to school dropouts,” he said.

“We want to teach the youth that they can still be self-reliant and defend their choices, regardless of their circumstances. As a church, we have a role in teaching our children about future responsibilities, including parenthood, to reduce the alarming divorce rates we are witnessing.”

Guest of honour Zanu PF national political commissioner Munyaradzi Machacha applauded efforts being made by the church to fight drug abuse.

“I wish this could be the same in our Zanu PF youth league. If we don’t educate our children to know their purpose in life, to understand that their destiny is in their hands and to recognise that this country is a heritage given to them by God with all its wealth and riches, then our youths will not be able to assume leadership and defend this national heritage,” he said.

“It can be easily taken away from them by the same Western detractors who were once our colonisers. You may be aware that Zimbabwe has been under sanctions for the past 20 years and that our economy has been ravaged by these sanctions, making it very difficult for young people to find jobs after graduating from school.”

He challenged the youth to think big and consider becoming entrepreneurs in their own right.

“Remember, the youths constitute about 67% of our population and in terms of voters, I think the figure is also above 60% . Therefore, we try by all means to have a serious engagement with the youths wherever they are,” he said.


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