ZEC registers 10 000 in Masvingo, engages youths

14 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
ZEC registers 10 000 in Masvingo, engages youths In her address yesterday, ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba expressed concern on the low participation of youths in electoral activities.

The Herald

George Maponga and Tanyaradzwa Kutaura

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission registered more than 10 000 new voters in its second registration blitz in Masvingo running from April 11 to 30.

ZEC deputy provincial elections officer Mr Maxwell Ncube said on Thursday that more men than women were registered in the blitz.

“During the second registration blitz we registered 5 645 new men voters and 4 968 women giving a combined total of 10 613 new voters across the province,” he said.

“The highest number of new voters recorded during the blitz was recorded in Masvingo district which had 1 200 voters followed by Gutu which had 1 120.”

Mwenezi recorded 344 new voters and Chivi 453, the least number of voters recorded in a district of the province.

Mr Ncube said 5 226 voters moved to new wards across the province, with 2 671 of them being men.

Masvingo is one of the country’s most populous provinces and presently divided into 26 parliamentary constituencies.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to encourage youths to participate in national political processes, ZEC and the Zimbabwe Youth Council are holding a three-day interface conference in Harare.

The conference started yesterday and ends on Sunday.

In her address yesterday, ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba expressed concern on the low participation of youths in electoral activities.

“The youth constitutes over half of this country’s population but statistics on their participation in electoral activities do not correspond to this demographic content. Youths are the leaders of tomorrow and it is therefore imperative for the current generation not to drop the baton but to arouse their interest and understanding on issues of democracy and elections on our beloved continent,” said Justice Chigumba. “It would be a sad day if their generation would regress to periods when there was no democracy at all and violence and unrest were the dominant social activities. The spread of democracy is one of the dramatic changes that the world has witnessed in the past few years and elections have been the indispensable root of it.

“Elections are now almost universal and since the year 2000 all but less than 10 countries have held national elections for purposes of choosing their leaders. 

Our youths therefore ought to take interest in electoral issues because the world in now aligned to the conduct of democratic elections as a way of selecting decision makers in their respective governments.”

Justice Chigumba added that there was need for relevant stakeholders to educate youths on the importance of electoral process.

“For youths to participate in electoral processes, they ought to be educated and sufficiently informed on the subject of elections. They need to be taken through the basics up to the advanced levels of election management.

“Elections are a contested subject where so much information is generated and so much of that information is false. It is therefore important for the youths to take the subject of elections seriously in order for politicians not to take advantage of them.

“In many instances, politicians take advantage of the energy of the youths to further their goals but they do not take time to explain to them what the subject entails,” said Justice Chigumba.

Speaking at the same event, Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Kirsty Coventry urged youths to use the conference as platform to air their concerns that have been hindering their participation in electoral processes.

“This workshop comes at an opportune time when our country is preparing for watershed elections in 2023 where we anticipate an increased level of participation by youth as voters as well as candidates,” said Dr Coventry. 

“We have witnessed a decrease in youth participation in the past including the just ended by-elections. 

“To the youth, I say an opportunity has been presented to you and you need to utilise it. 

“We know you have been facing challenges in as far as participation in electoral processes is concerned but I urge you to use this workshop to proffer solutions together with stakeholders here present so that as the roadmap is unpacked, you plug yourselves in the process.”

Minister Coventry said the Reviewed National Youth Policy acknowledges the need for youths to be involved in governance structures such as parliament and local authorities. 

Participation started with taking keen interest in what would be happening in communities, in the nation as well as on the global stage. 

“Currently, we have less than 3 percent youth in Parliament, a situation that we hope can improve in 2023. 

“Section 20 of the Constitution provides for a legal framework for youth and as a Ministry we are seized with the matter, expecting to develop a National Youth Act before the next elections. 

“It is our hope that when the Bill is presented, you will take keen interest in participating and contributing to the content. Many a times Bills are passed in Parliament with limited contributions from the youth constituency. That should be a thing of the past.

“The National Development Strategy 1 aspires to increase the level of youth participation in leadership from 3,3 percent to 25 percent by 2025. This can only be achieved through the contributions of the youth themselves. Without your contributions as youth, we as Government may not be able to achieve the intended goals for you. The era of finger pointing is behind us, let’s all focus on building our beloved nation Zimbabwe,” said Dr Coventry.

The three-day workshop seeks to create youth awareness and understanding of the nexus between elections and democracy and the dividend of their participation in the electoral process.

The Head of the African Governance Architecture, African Union Commission, Ambassador Mohamed Salah participated virtually while Switzerland envoy to Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, Ambassador Niculin Jager gave their remarks too.

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