President Emmerson Mnangagwa has exhorted children to be disciplined, hardworking, respectful and also shun drugs and unbecoming behaviour if they are to be competitive in a globalised world.
He was speaking on Saturday in an interactive session with children drawn from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia during the World Children’s Day forum that was held in Kazungula, Botswana.
The President noted that while children have their expectations, their governments also expect good behaviour from them. He said:
Today’s interactive meeting informs us, leaders, what you think we should do for you. But you should also apply your minds to what you think we as your leaders should do for you, for us to help. We want discipline.
Respect your parents, respect your teachers, lecturers and professors. Abstain from drugs and wayward living, that is what we would want you to be.
We feel better that you the young, who are going to be leaders of these countries — these communities, are discussing these issues.
Zimbabwe’s young people were represented by Nkosilathi Nyathi, a UNICEF climate change activist from Victoria Falls who passionately pleaded with the regional leaders to give children space to express themselves.
President Mnangagwa paid tribute to Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi for bringing the four countries together to discuss the issues.
Mnangagwa joined his Botswana counterpart Masisi, Namibian President Hage Geingob and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema at the quadripoint where Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia meet.
This year’s annual World Children’s Day was held under the theme, “Reimagining the Future.”
The Kazungula Bridge was lit in blue, symbolising that children have no limitations to their hopes and aspirations.