Young people in Kuwadzana East have underscored the need for political parties to uphold peace and tolerance ahead of the by elections that will be conducted in the constituency on 26 March 2022. This was revealed during a series of interviews conducted by Heal Zimbabwe in the constituency on 19 January 2022.
The interviews mostly targeted youths drawn from various political parties and sought to measure the preparedness of the constituency to conduct a by election on 26 March 202. The interviews by Heal Zimbabwe are part of an initiative to encourage young people to uphold peace and tolerance ahead of the by election in the constituency.
Young people who are mostly informal traders highlighted that it was important for contesting candidates to take a lead in preaching peace ahead of the by election. “While as young people we encourage young people to vote in peace during the impending by election, it is equally important for contesting candidates to also take a lead in promoting peace even throughout their campaigns”, added one youth. Young people also highlighted that in past elections such as the 2008 elections, torture bases were set up at Kuwadzana 5 shops and this led to many people to shy away from actively participating in democratic processes such as elections. “Violent elections in 2008 discouraged many young people from voting in elections due to the high levels of violence. Over the years we have however seen an increase in the number of people registering to vote. This is encouraging as young people get an opportunity to elect their representatives”, added another youth. Other issues that came out during the interactions include restrictions during voter registration for the by elections. In some cases potential registrants were forced to go Crowborough to register to vote due to congestion at local registration centres.
The engagement meetings by Heal Zimbabwe ahead of the 26 March by elections are an initiative meant to mobilize citizens to peacefully participate in elections and help safeguard against human rights abuse and also help build peaceful communities. Heal Zimbabwe utilizes various strategies to address conflicts in local communities. One of these ways is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways through which they can proffer solutions to problems in their communities. Such platforms also facilitate local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe