ZANU-PF Bulawayo province bigwig Elifasi Mashaba says his party has capacitated youths by donating 10 tonnes of firewood for them to sell and pursue their desired projects as a way of empowering youths.
The Nketa-Emganwini politician gave clarity following a video that was circulating on social media of members of the party carrying firewood. He said the firewood was purchased from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC).
“After the rainy season trees fall and BCC collects the firewood and sells it to the public following laws. As a party we purchased the firewood to donate to the youths to sell the firewood to pursue their projects,’’ he said.
He said the donation is to empower youths’ start-ups to pursue their income generating projects.
“We realise some detractors may seek to misrepresent our constituency empowering programmes, more so to score politics points than to help improve the lives of our people in Matabeleland who have been neglected by some of the local MPs and councillors they put faith in before. Youths from ward 24,25 and 26 benefited from the empowerment programme. Each received two tonnes of firewood. The firewood was not poached, it was bought from local authorities through stipulated laws,’’ said Mashaba.
He said the party has engaged the ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality industry to see how best they can educate the public on the environment.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our empowerment programmes will be done in line with Environmental laws, Ema guidelines and global climate change protocols. More importantly, we will be rolling out a tree-planting programme, education and awareness with relevant Government agencies and in partnership with private sector companies in the renewable energy sectors,’’ said Mashaba.
“Our constituency empowerment programmes are many but all of them are within the law and aimed at helping achieve the Government’s Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy. We seek to both educate our youths on the implications of climate change and the consequences of deforestation while economically empowering them in the process’’.
Youths were encouraged to acquire permits to sell the firewood from the Environment Management Agency (Ema).
Mashaba urged the public to buy firewood from people with selling permits to avoid supporting those who poach firewood.
“Members of the public should buy firewood from people with selling permits and people from reputable entities. People should desist from poaching firewood and abide by the rules and regulations from Ema. We ask the public to support the youths so that they pursue their desired projects. As we proceed, we will seek to partner and learn from other like-minded and patriotic citizens,’’ he said. ■