ZEC to incorporate voter education in tertiary curricula Mr Utloile Silaigwana

Farirai Machivenyika

Senior Reporter

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will soon introduce voter education as a component of tertiary institutions’ curricula as part of efforts to encourage youths to take part in elections.

ZEC is already engaging the institutions in that regard and the parties would sign memoranda of understanding once agreements are concluded.

This was said by ZEC chief elections officer Mr Utloile Silaigwana last week when he appeared before the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security to brief them on the status of voter education.

“This linkage will see voter education being infused into current curriculum of tertiary institutions through incorporation of new academic programme or incorporating into existing approved programmes,” he said.

The initiative is part of ZEC’s catch them young thrust and will see the electoral body training lecturers and provide human and material resources where required.

The catch them young initiative is also meant to dissuade youths from engaging in undesirable acts like political violence.

Mr Silaigwana also told the Committee that ZEC now had stand-alone departments on voter education and research and evaluation to ensure that the body fulfils its constitutional mandate

Mr Silaigwana said ZEC had come up with a programme to target rural women and marginalised communities in the ongoing voter education exercise.

While the electoral body has been carrying out virtual and radio education exercises these are not accessed by some communities especially women.

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted ZEC’s activities due to restrictions on numbers at gatherings which has negatively affected voter education.

Last year Government suspended the holding of by-elections to fill vacant seats due to the pandemic.

The suspension has now been lifted and parties have begun preparations for the holding of the by-elections.

Mr Silaigwana decisions on whether to or not hold by-elections would be dependent on advice they get from medical on the pandemic.

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