MUTARE– A local youth led environmental justice organization, Green Governance has launched a poetry slam for youths in Zimbabwe as it seeks to raise consciousness on rampant tax abuse in the mining sector.
Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust said the Poetry Slam seeks submissions which speak out against rising inequalities affecting youth and women in mining communities, and set an agenda for increased oversight, adherence and compliance to tax regulations.
The poetry slam is supported by an international organisation, Alert Fund for Youth Activities which supports once-only and small-scale (inter-)national projects organised by and for young people, such as demonstrations, workshops, and publications.
Alert Fund is supporting, initiatives dealing with environmental issues, emancipation, political consciousness, international solidarity and multicultural co-existence.
Frank Mpahlo, director Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust said there is a lack of youth involvement across natural resource governance and their voices are rarely captured speaking out against impacts of flawed tax systems that lead to illicit financial flows.
He said this is despite mining communities in Zimbabwe characterised by deep rooted and embedded inequalities which have seen them being associated with poverty, particularly for youth and women.
“Mining communities are characterised by poor access to water, no health facilities, few educational facilities and dilapidated roads, which impacts disproportionately on youths and women,” he said.
“It is our conviction as Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust, that mining is laced with tax abuse by mining companies, tax avoidance, illicit financial flows and complicity of the local elite at the expense of youths and women,” he said.
Green Governance made a call for applications from 11-15 January 2021 where youths across Zimbabwe were requested to submit 3 minute poem (video/audio) on Mining and Tax Justice in Zimbabwe.
Mpahlo said from the submissions a total of 10 poets will be selected to go for free Coaching Clinic boot camp, have their poems recorded on videos for an Online Poetry Slam, where winners will be selected and receive a token.
“Through poetry, we seek to set an agenda for communities, government and public mining institutions to increase oversight over adherence and compliance to tax regulations by mining companies for the socio-economic development of local mining communities,” said Mpahlo.
Green Governance Zimbabwe Trust is a non-profit organization advocating for citizen inclusion and participation in governance, pushing for integration of tax justice issues in natural resource governance to advance progressive taxation regimes in the mining sector.