Young people have been urged to participate in politics so that their voices are better represented in issues of governance.
This is ahead of next year’s harmonized elections. Youth comprise two thirds of the population and yet only 22% of them voted in 2008.
In light of the revelations, a local youth organisations launched the #LeaveNoYouthBehind campaign.
“We reiterate the need for youth participation both as voters and as candidates. Youth participation is a key tenet in the Zimbabwean Constitution Section 20 (b) which stipulates that youth should; have opportunities to associate and to be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life,” said National Association of Youth Organisations Africa (NAYO) finance manager Absolome Mandizvidza.
He urged youth to register to vote, stand either with political parties or as independent candidates. Young Zimbabweans are barely audible on the political scene, including at a local level where they are entirely absent from council and consultative meetings in their wards.
“The absence of young people on the political sphere means their issues will not be prioritized. It is them that know what they want and it is them that should push their agendas as part of governing bodies or by putting forth and voting candidates that have their wishes at heart,” said youth activist Watmore Makokoba.
The #LeaveNoYouthBehind campaign which is being backed by over 16 youth organisations will conduct voter education while assisting young people with information on the benefits of a peaceful environment to their development and the development of their communities.
“Youth constitute 47 percent of the voting population. Naturally it means that their views must be appreciated as they are critical substratum of any nation. In the past, their energy has been diverted towards negative contribution to the electoral process and they have become infamous and synonymous with the violence that has characterised previous elections in Zimbabwe and driven most of them to the peripheries of the electoral process,” said Mandizvidza.
NAYO is an umbrella body for youth organizations in Africa with a view to see a repositioned, redefined, and enhanced role of young people in community, national, regional, and global development processes through advocacy, capacity building, and information sharing.