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'Violence deters youths from politics'

by Staff reporter
22 Jan 2024 at 10:00hrs | Views
Violence has lowered the percentage of youth voters in the country, a study by a local non-government organisation has revealed.Project Vote 263, in a study titled Youth Participation in Elections, revealed that the youth is not fully participating in electoral and governance processes as they fear political violence and age discrimination.

"Majority of respondents [79,5%] stated that young people are not fully participating in electoral and governance processes. Respondents said this was due to apathy, political violence and intimidation, ignorance and lack of information, propaganda and youth friendly spaces in political parties and being discriminated against on account of age," the report read.

"Youth participation in elections and civic processes is an important component of international, regional and national development. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals consider youth essential partners for achieving inclusive and peaceful societies (United Nations, 2018). The African Youth Charter underscores the rights of youth to participate in political and decision-making processes and calls upon states to prepare them with the necessary skills to do so (African Union, 2006)."

The research also revealed that the harsh economic struggles the country is facing and governmental autocratic practices have fuelled the fear within young people.

"However, the prevailing harsh economic environment and shrinking democratic space means that marginalised young people struggle to speak out on issues that concern them and hold duty bearers to account. There is a relationship between this powerlessness of youths and voter apathy. The economic demands of making ends meet in the informal sector further leave little time to participate in civic and governance issues," the report read.

According to the Research and Advocacy Unit and the Zimbabwe Election Commission, Zimbabwe had approximately 4,1 million youths between the ages of 18 to 35 who were eligible to register to vote but only 2501 000 (61%) were registered to vote and 38% were able to cast their votes on election day in 2018.An estimated 1,5 million youths reportedly voted their votes in the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections.

Source - newsday