Zimbabwe: 2023 Elections

Youths say this year’s elections will shape the way for their future as they get a chance to choose their own leaders.

Some young people who were registering to vote told 263Chat that the time to be politically heard is nigh and are eager to exercise their constitutional rights.

“It is important for me to do this (registering to vote) so that I can be able to choose my leader and I’m so excited to be doing this. I’m looking forward to voting this year as this can give me a voice to shape my future, said Abigail Chirandu, a prospective first-time voter.

Another young person, Pride Mushayabasa, told this publication that for a long time, he had been scared to register to vote due to the violence that is usually meted out during elections.

“I’m 29 now, I should have registered to vote a long time but I used to be swayed away by how violent the elections are. However, I figured there is no point in folding my hands and remaining dormant, I should do something and help choose our leader, I will be voting this year,” he said.

Others expressed satisfaction with the efficacy being shown by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) during the registration process.

“Being a first-timer, I had so many reservations over the delays I read in the media at ZEC offices and It turned me away but together with my friend, we decided to spare this day and just get It done. To my surprise, it didn’t even take long for me to register. So, I urge all young people to do these processes,” said Julia Nkomo from Mabvuku Harare.

Zimbabwean youths have long shunned the electoral process due to various reasons. However, efforts from various civil society organizations like the Election Resource Centre (ERC0 have seen more youths becoming enthusiastic about casting their ballots this year.

In its survey in 2022, Afrobarometer reported that among respondents who are registered to vote, a resounding majority say they will probably or definitely cast their votes in the upcoming elections.

“Nearly seven in 10 Zimbabwean adults (68%) say they are registered to vote in the 2023 elections. In addition, one-quarter (24%) say they intend to register, while 6% say they do not. The middle-aged (83% of those aged 36-55 years) are more likely to be registered than either their younger counterparts (54% of those aged 18-35 years) or the older generation (72% of those aged 56 years or more).

The findings indicate that slightly more women than men say they are registered to vote and Mashonaland Central has a larger proportion of registered adults than any other province.

“Looking at those who are not registered to vote, more than half of Masvingo (58%) and Bulawayo/Mat North/Mat South (53%) residents fall into this category. Rural residents (32%) are more likely to report not having registered to vote than their urban counterparts (25%), as are the youth (41%) compared to the middle-aged (17%) and the elderly (27%).”

Recently, Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda urged youths to be actively involved in politics.

“When you interface at tertiary institutions, young people must not forget the political sector; they must come in and be politicians. The world is structured, our society is structured, you won’t become politicians while going solo — by yourself, look at the structure, and you have to be a member of a political party first.”

He said youngsters at tertiary institutions must desist from criticizing only, but become active politicians.

“Have the courage of your conviction in the national interest and not personal interest. You need to understand your Constitution which tells you what to do for the national interest, and you must understand the public policies that have been enunciated by the government,” he said.