A local pressure group, Bulawayo Youths Arise (Buya) has embarked on a voter registration awareness exercise, targeting the youth ahead of the 2018 elections.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Buya co-ordinator, Mthokozisi Ncube told Southern Eye that youths shied away from voting, judging from past election statistics.
“Buya is a youth movement that works in line with section 20 of Constitution of Zimbabwe. The section entails that young people should be engaged in political, social and economic activities,” he said.
“It is very important for the young generation to register to vote because we believe that change is guaranteed by their votes. There is no other means to uproot an oppressive system except through voting.
“Yes, we can demonstrate, but it is very important that young people register to vote.”
Ncube said youths will continue decrying poverty, joblessness and other ills associated with Zimbabwe’s economic crisis if they did not participate and vote in electoral processes.
A study by the Research and Advocacy Unit revealed that in the 2013 elections, only 8,87% of youths were on the voters’ roll, translating to nearly two million people, who did not vote.
A survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute on behalf of the Elections Resources Centre also revealed that only 28% of the youths in the 18 to 25 years and 38% of the 26 to 35-year age groups are interested in elections compared to more than 56% in the 61+ age group.
Ncube said the statistics were not pleasing.
“As an organisation, we have seen it important to embark on programmes of having workshops with youths, who have voted before and never voted before,” he said.
“So far, young people constitute 75% of population, meaning with their participation we are guaranteed some change.
“Young people should not be cry-babies; they have to register to vote.”
In terms of the law, bodies seeking to conduct voter education must be registered by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, but Ncube said they did not think they needed permission to carry out a publicity exercise.