Many youths will not participate in 2018 elections: report

Charles Mabhena

Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Tawanda Chimhini has described the forthcoming elections as a big challenge to the youth participation.

Chimhini who leads one of the most authoritative elections monitoring body, told youths at a Yavepo and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung event in Harare, that the electoral process in Zimbabwe is still haze, and that to date no information is filtering through to inform the electorate especially the youths of the goings on.

“There is limited information so far passed by the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) regarding voter education and registration. I am afraid information will be unveiled at the eye of the registration by which it will be too late for youths to participate in the process.

“I believe there is a deliberate attempt to sideline the youths from participating in the elections,” he said.

The ERC boss also took a swipe at ZEC for not dispelling misinformation that is going rounds concerning elections.

“A lot of information is being paddled concerning elections and the processes involved for instance the rumour that the biometric process is vulnerable to hacking, but the electoral body is not dispelling such information to set the record straight,” he said.

Chimhini’s comments come at a time some opposition parties, civic organisation and the voting public had lost trust in ZEC after years of crooked polls. They allege that ZEC’s composition makes it hard for people to separate it from the ruling party, and that continuous tendencies of changing the rules of the game is clear testimony that they want to twist the game in favour of their paymaster.

Calls have been made that the elections be monitored by regional and international bodies. Over the years, ZANU PF had tried to limit the number of youths who participate in elections as they are perceived to be too liberal and could vote in favour opposition parties.