Youths encouraged to register and vote, desist from violence

Hundreds of youths who attended NYDT Youth Policy Dialogue meetings in Tsholotsho and Bulawayo, to discuss the possible forthcoming elections and the role of the youth, were encouraged by speaker after speaker to register and vote and desist from being used by politicians to cause violence. The meetings were convened under the topic: Elections speculated for 2011- What does it mean to the youth? The aim was to define the role of the youth in Zimbabwe’s transition, review the role of the youth in elections and strategize for effective and responsible participation. The youths cited several hindrances for effective participation which they said are also the source of limited (meaningful) youth participation during elections. Some of the issues cited were:
Stanley Hall, Makokoba
• The non-existence of an independent electoral body,
• the restrictive media environment,
• the militarized state institutions and
• Uneven political landscape was all signed as tipping the scale unevenly for a ZANU-PF election win.

Mthanyelwana, Tsholotsho
Youth have taken the scheduled 2011 elections with dissatisfaction and vowed not to take part unless the following issue addressed:
• Complete overhaul of Zimbabwe electoral commission.
• Transparency in ZESN and ZEC
• Presence of foreign observers like the UN, AU, SADC
• No harmonization of elections
• A people driven constitution that is not an off shot of the Lancaster house version.
• Peaceful campaigns
• Clear and proportional representation
• A clear referendum that will reflect the people’s will, consultative of every province and ward.
Speakers urged the participants to fight and rage on in quest for change that will improve their well-being and that of Zimbabwe. It was also emphasized that the youth constitute a higher percentage of the country’s population as such they have a better chance and voice to influence positive change towards the development of the country.

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