By Tariro D. Senderayi
Former Zanu PF politician Acie Lumumba has moved to address the problem of voter apathy. It’s not a secret that there is a number of virgin voters ripe for the taking by political parties. The first step is to ensure that they are on the voters roll by registration. Acie Lumumba has launched a voter registration campaign where he and a team are knocking on doors in Hatfield, Msasa park and Waterfalls to encourage people to register to vote. The Blitz process of registration undertaken by ZEC is currently in the second phase which began on the 20th of October.
As the issue of crowd pulling resources is an obstacle we have seen many young people, Lumumba has opened a Go Fund Me account imploring the diaspora to plug in and ensure that as many people register to vote. He has raised the pertinent issue that the process of cajoling votes is expensive and demands mass mobilisation. In his video he has pointed out that it only takes $10 from each donor to ensure that 4 million votes are registered for the election in 2018. So far the campaign has raised £1 784 pounds against an anticipated £40 000 pounds and is actually trending.
The virgin vote is a bone of contention and every political player wants that number in their backyard but it seems are doing little to mobilise this demographic. Many politicians make mention of the virgin vote but in a “by the way” manner which neglects to speak into how they intend to tap into this group. Zimbabwe is in a socio economic crisis that is getting deeper by the day and there is a youth bulge that is being left unattended. There is a ‘wasted generation’ of youth. Many young people feel let down by the current leaders as they have no jobs and source of reliable consistent livelihoods yet they are educated.
One thing that politicians do not realise is that as long as this youth bulge is ignored its either of two things, they will resort to violence to ensure their needs are met or adversely they will pull back and disengage. Disengagement entails them not participating in political processes thus allowing others to make the decision of who leads them on their behalf.
Voter apathy is real in the lived reality of Zimbabwe. Unless and until there is the realisation that pushing for participation is not about guaranteeing voting results but about breaking the cycle of disengagement and fostering a culture of participation which will one day be reflected in the ballot, we have done nothing.
Commendable effort by Lumumba as he brazenly tackles an aspect of apathy which is meant to be a shared responsibility of all political animals. Those in Hatfield, Msasa park and Waterfalls, Lumumba and his team will be knocking at your door, let them in.