Speaking at a workshop organised by the Youth Alliance for Democracy (YAD) in Harare, different speakers took turns to challenge young people to be more involved in the electoral process and utilise their numbers to bring change.
Promise Mkwananzi the Movement for Democratic Change Youth Assembly Secretary General, bemoaned the poor participation of young people in elections.
He further spoke on the issue of political violence during elections saying the role of youths was only negative as they were and are being used to perpetrate political violence against each other as well as against fellow Zimbabweans.
“Instead of perpetrating violence, youths should have a common policy which transcends political differences as a way of maintaining peace”, said Mkwananzi.
“Political stability is yet to be enjoyed in Zimbabwe because we have been in an election mode since 2000”, Mkwananzi said.
Mkwananzi also took time to lambast the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) over its lack of objectivity and failure to serve everyone’s interests by fanning hate speech. ”ZBH is not objective or open-minded despite it being the sole broadcaster in Zimbabwe”, added Mkwananzi.
A legal expert present at the workshop, Emmanuel Samundombe spoke of the need to give the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) sole custodianship of the voters roll as well as the conducting of the registration process.
Another speaker at the workshop, Kelvin Maenzanise from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) who presented on the SADC guidelines on the holding of elections, said credible polls encompassed a respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, ‘Everyone has the right to take part in the governance of his/her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives,” Maenzanise noted. In line with this, Maenzanise went on to express the need for free and fair elections which he said were not an end in itself but a means to an end.
The challenge for meaningful participation comes against the backdrop of a deadly culture of violence, where unemployed youths are being used to perpetrate politically motivated acts of violence by politicians.
Unemployment, which has affected the majority of the youths has left the youths vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous politicians
By Mercy Ngwebvu