BY TAFADZWA MURANGANWA
The appalling voter apathy among youths in Zimbabwe is a matter of concern in the country as 2018 elections beckon.
This was voiced at a media conference held in the capital recently, where most delegates spoke on what ought to be done to improve youth participation in electoral processes.
Ropafadzo Mapimhidze, a veteran journalist said there is the need to consider civic education as part of the school curriculum to encourage young people to actively participate in elections.
“I grew up in Zambia and learnt Civics as a subject which I think should be introduced here in Zimbabwe so as to encourage young people to vote.
“I was in that country towards the recently held elections and witnessed very young people who were fully aware of the importance of elections which I see lack here,” she said.
Another experienced journalist Rejoice Ngwenya is of the view that most youths of today are affected by attitudes more than anything else.
“While I subscribe to what Ropafadzo is saying, I think the youths of today are ‘cry-babies ‘ they need to create their own spaces like what was done before attainment of independence, ”he cited.
Kumbirai Munyoro, the coordinator of NAYO (National Association of Youth Organisation) said the Kenyan elections experience where many young people assumed council and legislative positions after spirited social media campaigns should be enough to inspire young Zimbabweans to actively participate in the electoral processes.
“The Kenyan elections experience is where we can draw inspiration from. Many youths there are now in positions of power owing to the use of social media,” said Munyoro.
However, a journalism student with a local college said there is the need for political parties and civic society organizations to package voter education in a manner that would woo young voters.
“While social media is now the in-thing and some political organizations and CSOs are taking advantage of it , there is the need for them to entice young people to vote by packaging the messages well,” she emphasized.
According to a local think tank, Research Advocacy Unit(RAU) youths in Zimbabwe constitute 41 percent of eligible voters but constitute 14 percent of registered voters on the current voters’ roll.