First time voter Campaign launched

Youth representatives from ZANU PF and the two MDC formations have endorsed the first time voter campaign, dubbed X1G campaign, a meaningful engagement of youths in electoral processes.

Addressing youths at the launch of the campaign, ZANU PF Youth National Secretary General, Leslie Ncube emphasised the need for young people to participate in elections in positive light. He also urged them to be tolerant of each other despite their diverse political backgrounds and affiliations. Fortune Mlalazi from the MDC also underlined the need for youths to respect each other’s ideas for the betterment of the country. Adding on to those sentiments, MDC-T provincial youth chairperson, Themba Nyathi said that youths should effectively participate in the elections and become a vibrant force in setting up a youthful agenda.

“Unless young people begin to be active in voicing their issues and positively participating in elections, youth issues will not be given space. As young people we need to be proactive in setting the youthful agenda for the nation,” he said.

The Guest of Honour, Dr Mandla Nyathi unpacked to the youths the power one vote can have and why young people need to take part in electoral processes while effectively contributing to the development of their communities.

“Youths should use the power of numbers to hold leaders accountable and to amplify their issues. In order to achieve this there is need for youths to organise themselves across political divides, be unified and speak with one common voice,” he said.
All these sentiments were echoed during the official launch of the first time voter campaign in Bulawayo on Friday July 13, 2012. The campaign is being spearheaded by a consortium of eight youth organisations namely the National Youth Development Trust, Youth in Democracy Zimbabwe (YIDEZ), Youth Forum, Platform for Youth Development (PYD), Students Solidarity Trust (SST), Zimbabwe Young Women Network of Peace Builders (ZYWNP), Youth Agenda Trust (YAT) and Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ). The aim of the Campaign is to encourage young people to register to vote and was necessitated by the realization that young people are apathetic when it comes to electoral processes in Zimbabwe.
The launch was attended by over 200 young people who all acknowledged that youths are a key electorate and therefore need to meaningfully participate in electoral processes if they are to make a difference in shaping Zimbabwe’s destiny. A blend of Bulawayo based young artistes entertained the audience through performances that encouraged young people to register to vote. These included Umdumo Wesizwe, Djembe Monks, Khayisa dance group and stand up comedians Ntando and Clive.
The X1G is a peaceful celebration of youth vibrancy that symbolises the power of one vote in a way that invites young people to take up the call for participation. The campaign is a platform for collective action towards achieving the goals and aspirations of a generation of democratic activists who are prepared to take action and defend such action in pursuit of a better Zimbabwe. While the X1G campaign focuses on voter registration, it signifies subscription to an idea that young people in their numbers, can make a difference.

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