Youth apathy worries ex-MP

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Former Tsholotsho North legislator and National People’s Party (NPP) aspiring candidate Roselyn Nkomo has expressed concern over the low turnout of youths in the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise, blaming Zanu PF activists and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for the voter registration lethargy.

BY SILAS NKALA

Nkomo, who is NPP deputy president Samuel Sipepa Nkomo’s wife, said some Zanu PF activists were waylaying registrants, demanding registration slip serial numbers.

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora last week threatened to sue Zanu PF for vote-buying and voter intimidation.
“Youths are dragging their feet, very few registered. Also, late voter education by Zec might be contributing to the low turnout in some areas. When I got to a shopping place at Sipepa, I was approached by people, even community leaders, who were saying a certain man only identified as Mutare was ambushing people who had registered and asking for the serial numbers on their registration
slips,” she said.

“I think, more than anything else, they want to instil fear in people that since the serial number has been collected, when voting time comes, they would know who one voted for 2018.”

Nkomo reportedly confirmed with colleagues from other constituencies that voter intimidation was rife in their constituencies.

She lost her Tsholotsho North seat in 2014 after 17 MDC-T legislators and senators were recalled from Parliament for forming the breakaway MDC Renewal Team following a dispute with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai over the 2013 election participation.

If endorsed by the People’s Rainbow Coalition, Nkomo will face incumbent legislator Jonathan Moyo (Zanu PF), who won the seat in a 2015 by-election in 2015. Moyo had previously won the seat in 2005 and 2008 as an independent candidate.

Nkomo said although Zec encouraged people to register when they were receiving government-donated farming inputs and she was conducting door-to-door campaigns, the low turnout at registration centres was a cause for concern.

She appealed to authorities to rectify the problems faced by villagers in registering ahead of the 2018 elections.