By ZBC Reporter
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has called for the active participation of youth in electoral processes in line with Section 67 of the Zimbabwean Constitution and urged them to shun violence.
In its National Youth Day message, ZESN said the national youth day celebrations, established to recognise youths and their contributions to different areas in the country come at a time when the country is preparing for the 2023 harmonized elections.
“Whilst the youth are an important demographic group in the country constituting 67.7% of the total population, their participation and representation in key governance processes remains low due to lower voter registration and low turnout during polling. ZESN thus, implores youths to exercise their constitutional rights through taking part in continuous voter registration as well as in participating in various electoral processes peacefully,” it said.
ZESN also welcomed the institutionalisation of the youth quota in the National Assembly to enhance their participation in democratic governance processes as this is something that youth had been lobbying for since 2017, calling for the government and political parties to employ the 25% threshold as outlined in the National Youth Policy, to ensure representation of youth in all public office and leadership positions from the village, ward, and council to National level.
The organisation said youth participation in political and electoral violence has a negative effect on their political, economic and social inclusion.
“ZESN urges youth not to allow themselves to be used to cause violence in the coming elections. Dynamic development and adoption of new technologies presented through the usage of a vast array of different social media platforms have improved the way people communicate and share information. This has meant to a great extent, the empowerment of youths, and a milestone which this National youth day seeks to celebrate as youths are not only empowered but given a chance to innovate, interact with different opportunities, get more information and understanding on the importance of voting as well as interact with other different voter education material,” it noted.
Regarding the National Youth Day Commemorations, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network urged young people to uproot vices such as drug and alcohol abuse, violence and the abuse of social media that threaten their existence as responsible citizens, limiting their full participation and positive influence in the electoral processes which in turn erodes trust, credibility and slows the democratic momentum of the nation.