Youths are generally not enthused by politics as they feel their concerns are not prioritised.
The just ended by-elections have exposed lack of interest to participate in electoral processes by women and youths in Victoria Falls.
Elections in the resort town were held in wards 1 and 6, and none of the contesting candidates were youth or women.
Tonderai Mutasa won ward 1 on a Zanu-PF ticket after beating Christopher Ndiweni of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
Bekithemba Mlotshwa, Zanu PF, is now ward 6 councilor after outvoting CCC’s Derrick Munsaka and Brian Ndlovu of MDC Alliance.
There were over 1 900 registered voters for the two wards, and a mere 720 cast their vote.
Of these, about two thirds were men who constituted the majority at all the three polling stations.
Until late in the afternoon, there were no voters; less than 20 voters that had cast votes.
There were two polling stations in ward 6 and voters did not have to travel long distances to vote.
Despite this, there were no queues as few people turned up at any given time.
“It could be the fact that women have a burden to carry, taking care of families or household chores and they find activism in politics too demanding for them,” Melody Mwale, a Chinotimba resident says.
An observer from Zimbabwe Council of Churches who preferred to remain anonymous as she had not been cleared to speak to media says: “Generally women turnout was low and I believe there is a need for more voter education and to capacitate women so that they realise that they have power to make their destiny through the ballot.”
Victoria Falls City Council has 11 wards and only two of the councillors are women.
Emily Sithole, a self-confessed Zanu-PF youth, says she will join the race in the next harmonised elections next year.
“From what I have seen, few youths are interested in serious politics yet they are the majority. We need serious investment in voter education so that everyone sees the importance of exercising their right to vote,” Sithole says.
Ntombi Ndiweni, a 55-year-old woman from ward 1 says she has religiously voted since 1980 and is pained when fellow women do not vote.
“Voter apathy is a cancer especially among women. I wish all women could exercise their right to vote so they get empowered in decision making,” says Ndiweni.
Ashley Moyo, a 19 year old who completed her Advanced Level last year, says she has no interest in politics and did not vote.
A number of prospective voters were also turned away for various reasons ranging from presenting defaced national identity cards, expired passports or trying to use a driver’s license.
“I wanted to vote but they told me that I belong to ward 2. Last time I voted at Baobab school nearby and I thought it’s the same ward,” Nothando Ndlovu, a woman from Low Density suburbs says.
Source: The Citizen Bulletin