ZimPride urges young Zimbabweans to register to vote in elections
By Tichaona Sibanda
06 July 2012
ZimPride, a new election awareness and advocacy group targeting the youth,
is urging young people to have their voice heard and register to vote in the
next harmonized election.
John Vincent Chikwari, director of the group, told SW Radio Africa’s
Election Watch program that a study they conducted recently found that a
high percentage of 18-25 year-olds were not registered to vote.
‘Not being on the voter’s roll is a key reason why young people are unable
to vote, with many not even aware they have to register.
‘We sampled voters’ rolls in Chitungwiza, Chiredzi and Masvingo and there is
some worrying information which shows young people and those from
politically charged areas are least likely to be registered to vote,’
He also urged a number of young people who have moved away from where they
are registered to vote, to change their voting registration to their current
It is estimated that out of a population of about 12 million people in
Zimbabwe, five million of them are between the ages 18 and 35.
‘Our study showed us that there were impressive figures of people in that
range not registered at all. In the past a lack of faith in the political
system has marginalized the youth vote and frustrated youth have often been
manipulated to participate in electoral violence.
‘As ZimPride, we want to change that. We strongly encourage young people to
register and to go out and vote in the next poll. It is their democratic
right and a great opportunity to have their say in how they shape the future
of this country,’ Chikwari added.
He continued: ‘It’s high time we do away with the perception that young
people are often complacent and apathetic to issues of governance. Bad
leaders are elected by those who never vote.’
Chikwari pointed to numerous times in the past 18 months when the courage of
young people has changed the balance of power in some countries, adding that
ZimPride aims to push Zimbabwean youth to get their ID cards, and educate
them on the importance of registering and voting.
‘Through media, social websites and our own website we want to encourage the
youth and inform them what their votes can do for them, because throughout
history we have witnessed cases where one vote has indeed changed the course
of history,’ he said.