Veteran politician Vernon Johnson Mwaanga says young people aspire to get into politics because they believe its a way to get rich.

In a statement, Sunday, Mwaanga stated that young people were setting low standards for themselves by agreeing to be used as tools of political violence.

“I interact with many young people who aspire to go into active politics, because they are under the impression that they will get rich. They have seen politicians get rich at the expense of the people they are supposed to serve. It is not unusual to see young people being funded and sent by senior politicians to areas where there are elections or by-elections sorely to harass or attack political opponents as we are currently experiencing in Lundazi, Sesheke and other areas, where there are Parliamentary or local government by-elections for political office. Young people of nowadays are setting very low and wrong targets for themselves. Instead of setting high and noble targets for their future, they are agreeing to be used as agents of violence during elections or by-elections, thereby take part in undermining the democracy for which my generation fought so hard and sacrificed so much to achieve,” Mwaanga stated.

He wondered what future today’s leaders were preparing for young people when the only thing they were teaching them was violence.

“Political parties must accept blame for this election violence being experienced and that is why inclusive national political dialogue is so important and desirable today, not tomorrow. Politicians must dialogue and make a commitment to zero tolerance to violence among many other issues and even agree to give a credible Electoral Commission, power to disqualify candidates whose political party cadres are using violence. What kind of future are we preparing for future generations, if the only thing they are being taught is violence, which is an enemy of peace and democracy?” Mwaanga asked.

Mwaanga stated that young people were supposed to be trained in leadership skills.

“Elections at whatever level, are and should not be tantamount to war or hatred. Elections should be treated as a mere contest of ideas, where voters must freely make their choices and hold politicians accountable for the election promises they make during their campaigns. The young people of the present are supposed to be better educated and need to be trained in leadership skills and qualities which tomorrow’s world will require, such as collective intelligence, innovation, skills connectivity, empathy, transparency, responsibility, team spirit, optimism about the future, learn to respect each other and the ability to recognise good leadership, develop the curiosity to generate enlightened leadership which must understand people’s problems and needs and earn their respect,” stated Mwaanga.

“Every country goes through generational changes of leadership, be it in politics, business or the professions. The most successful countries prepare young people for tomorrow’s leadership roles. Unfortunately, we are not doing enough of this in our country and in many other countries around the world. The net result is that we end up with the wrong leaders, particularly in politics, who get into politics for the wrong reasons. We must pay more attention to leadership development. The leaders of tomorrow will face many more daunting challenges than the present generation and among them will be the acquiring and developing of technology friendly skills and abilities. It cannot be denied that we live in a fast changing world where the government, professional and business environment never stop evolving. Leaders of tomorrow will therefore have a much greater task to continually adapt to changes and challenges.”