PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has asked youths not to accept to be used as tools of violence in the 2021 general elections, warning that the vice will destroy Zambia.

And President Lungu has launched the K470 million multi-sectoral youth empowerment fund targeting 150,000 beneficiaries.

Speaking during the launch of the youth empowerment fund in Ndola, Saturday, President Lungu said youths should not accept to be used as agents of violence.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge my dear youths not to accept to be used as agents of evil and hate in the peaceful loving country, Zambia. We have always known our youths as productive people who are there for their country. As we head for the general election next year, do not accept to be used for violence because violence will just destroy our country if not destroy you also. The Patriotic Front government remains available to work with you for the betterment of our country. Let me assure you that your future is still very bright, bringing with it the promise of a Zambia which has shared prosperities, equal opportunities and where you the youth are the greatest asset,” President Lungu said.

“Zambian youth possess the energy and intellect that can unlock the country’s potential. My government remains fully committed to unlocking this potential for the good of the country. Our great nation Zambia has very high potential for growth due to the huge number of youths who comprise the majority of human capital as well as abundant natural resource development. Government programs are anchored on service delivery to our people and this is done through a multi sectoral approach and clusters and not in silos.”

And President Lungu launched the K470 million multi sectoral youth empowerment fund targeting 150,000 beneficiaries.

“Skills alone cannot bring about desired change, it has to be accompanied by other inputs and support systems such as access to land, affordable financing, start up tools or other materials that will help other people to start up a successful business. Government has allocated an amount of K470 million for youth empowerment to the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development which is targeting 150,000 beneficiaries. I am confident that this financing of youth projects is a turn around strategy that will see the youth of Zambia utilize their various skills and innovate, especially that we are now living in a digital world,” President Lungu said.

“I also hope that you, the young people, will come up with convincing project proposals to access these funds. The theme for today’s event is ‘youth the key to national development’, the theme appropriately recognizes that today’s young people constitute the majority of our population and have the ability to build our nation. Our challenge today is to harness this potential to enable the youth to contribute positively to the country’s social economic development.”

President Lungu said it was not an accident that government had started implementing empowerment programmes as a response to the cries of youths across the country.

“I strongly believe that the youths have the right to ask government questions about their welfare. This is the more reason we are here today to answer to your problem and ensure that you remain productive for your benefit and for the benefit of our country. Our job is to listen and address issues that you face as youths. This therefore should be the primary duty of each and every civil servant or public employee. My dear youths, my government, which is your government, has heard your calls to be given opportunities to better your lives as well as contribute to national development,” said President Lungu.

“Today’s event is therefore not an accident; it has been organized to respond to the various issues that the youth have raised at various fora. In this regard, I have directed various Ministries responsible for providing empowerment for the youth to work together through the Ministry Youth, Sport and Child Development so that these services are available to you using a multi sectoral approach. Government’s duty is to leverage its resources so that you get the maximum benefit from our interactions. I do not want to see the youths being made to shuttle from one office to the other without being attended to. Let me put it on record that government officials are employed to serve you and not the other way round.”