Journal article

Policy making and governance structures in Zimbabwe: examining their efficacy as a conduit to equitable participation (inclusion) and social justice for rural youths

Publication Details

Author list: Masuku S, Macheka T

Editor list: Tong Kar-wai

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.

Publication year: 2020

Journal: Cogent Social Sciences

Volume number: 7

Issue number: 1

Start page: 1

End page: 18

Total number of pages: 18

ISSN: 2331-1886



Although the African Youth Charter emphasizes the role of the youth as prerequisites for sustainable development’, there remains an existential marginalisation of youth from most policy making and governance structures. In response to such exclusion, young Africans across the continent have been at the fore of protests and similar movements. In effecting inclusivity, decentralisation in Zimbabwe has meant that equitable participation is regulated by the Rural District Councils Act and the Traditional Leaders Act. However, the effectiveness of such frameworks and institutions in facilitating for the full participation of youth in policy making and governance has not been interrogated. In doing so, this study examined the degree of child and youth involvement in Village Development Committees (VIDCOs) and Ward Development Committees (WADCOs). This involved a case study-based exploratory inquiry of Masvingo in rural Zimbabwe. Through a purposive sampling technique, there were three FGDs held with youth and four face to face in-depth interviews with relevant civil society representatives as well as youth ward coordinators. The findings revealed how, despite available legislation on youth participation at village level, and the presence of VIDCOs and WADCOs as participatory structures, youth participation has been limited due to patriarchy, gerontocracy and partisan actors within the governance architecture. In ensuring that young people have maximum utility of VIDCOs and WADCOs, the study encourages government to invest more resources towards inclusive policy development as well as the capacity building of community leaders and elected officials who oversee participatory structures.


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Inclusion, Rural, youth, Youth unemployment

Last updated on 2021-13-01 at 21:03