A GWANDA community-based youth group on Wednesday launched a programme to mobilise the youth to have an interest in the country’s political affairs particularly to encourage them to vote, as the nation gears for the 2018 elections.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Sichasisile Ndlovu, the Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) co-ordinator, said the programme is informed by “worrying” statistics showing that the youth continued to shy away from voting during the elections.
Statistics provided by the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) showed that only 8,87% of the youth cast their votes in 2013 elections out of the 49% that were eligible to vote.
“This can be attributed to a number of factors that always come with elections ,such as political violence, intimidation and lack of trust in electoral and political institutions by young people.
“Therefore, the whole project will work towards restoring the lost trust, making the youth realise their capacity and the weight they carry as young voters. The project shall go a long way in encouraging the youth to be a positive instrument during elections and shun being used for negative political gains by senior political gurus,” Ndlovu said.
The CYDT co-ordinator said the project is titled Strengthening Youth Participation in Democratic Processes (SYPDP) to mobilise youth towards effective and meaningful participation in electoral processes.
Ndlovu said the SYPDP is premised on the constitutional provisions stipulated in Chapter 4:67 of the Constitution to encourage the youth to engage in governance and democratic processes.
“The project will also ensure that youth have ‘maximum’ access to information on biometric voter registration, so that they make informed decisions as to register as voters or not — above all, we trust that well informed person makes informed decisions that have strong future implications.
“The project will, therefore, remove young people from the periphery of the political mantra, as they have remained bystanders for long,” she said.