THE Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) has said the move by some opposition political parties to shun Youth Day celebrations was not in the interest of young people and the country as a whole.
Major opposition parties, including the United Party for National Development (UPND) and the former ruling MMD shunned the Youth Day celebrations, which were held on Wednesday.
This year’s celebrations were held under the theme ‘Zambia at 50: Promoting youth mainstreaming for sustainable national development’.
EFZ president Pukuta Mwanza said national events like Youth Day and Independence Day played an important role in helping citizens maintain their identity as a people.
Reverend Mwanza said shunning national events was a disservice to the youths who need a platform to express their views.
He said the Church valued national events such as Youth Day because they provided a forum for unity and harmony.
“Youth Day, just like Independence Day, gives us an opportunity to get together and so political differences must be handled at other fora other than these,” he said.
Rev Mwanza said political party leaders should put national interest before anything else by promoting the participation of every Zambian in events that help foster the unity of the country.
Green Party president Peter Sinkamba was similarly disappointed with the conduct of his fellow opposition party leaders who incited their youth wings to shun the Youth Day celebrations.
Mr Sinkamba, whose party youths participated in the event in Kitwe, said Youth Day offered young people a good platform on which to express themselves on various national issues.
“Loaoking at our governance system, we don’t have many youths in decision-making bodies and that goes to say that youths don’t have an alternative platform other than the Youth Day to express their views,” Mr Sinkamba said.
He was, however, disappointed with what he termed ‘high-handed approach’ to stopping youths in Lusaka from expressing themselves on the Constitution-making process.
National Restoration Party (NAREP) Copperbelt information and publicity secretary Joshua Mfune said shunning the Youth Day celebrations was not the best way to express displeasure over any national matters.
Mr Mfune, however, said the NAREP youth boycotted the Youth Day commemoration out of their own desire after having analysed issues critically.