Public officials for Zaka district have expressed concerns over low voter turnout among youth during previous electoral processes and their continuous disengagement from political systems and community development structures. Speaking during a community meeting facilitated by Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD), the public officials highlighted that voter apathy among the nation’s youths remains a cause for concern.
The public officials called upon the youth to register with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for them to be eligible to vote and participate in various electoral processes at both local and national level. Mr. Imbayarwo, Zaka ward 19 councillor and COTRAD peace committee member clarified voter registration requirements and the importance of youth’s peaceful participation in electoral processes both as voters and most importantly as candidates for various posts obtainable through election and or nomination.
The councillor encouraged the youth to take electoral processes seriously because it is the time to choose officials who will represent their communities and preside over development processes. Mr. Imbayarwo added that the youth should ensure their proper representation through the election process, for their concerns and interests to be prioritized.
The public officials also urged the youth to participate and contest in local development committee elections such as Ward Development Committees (WADCOs), Village Development Committees (VIDCOs) and School Development Committees (SDCs).
Electoral participation is a right enshrined in section 67 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Constitution gives every citizen of Zimbabwe the right to form , join a political party of choice, vote in all elections and referendums and to stand for public office and if elected to hold such office. The youth in Zimbabwe constitute about 60% of the total population. Therefore, ensuring youth’s peaceful participation in elections enhances peace and good governance in the country.
COTRAD will continue to promote youth participation through civic and voter education, provision of youth leadership training, conflict management and peace building campaigns and facilitating engagement platforms where the youth discuss their concerns and priorities with public officials.