BY KENNETH NYANGANI /SHARON BUWERIMWE THE Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of frustrating youths trying to register to vote ahead of the 2023 elections by turning them away on “flimsy” grounds.
This was said by CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere while addressing journalists in the capital on Thursday, who claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa was running scared ahead of the next year’s polls.
Mahere accused Zec of a deliberate strategy to suppress the youth vote.
“The narrative that young people don’t want to vote is a myth. We have gone to the ground and, in fact, when we mobilise youth to vote, the first thing they say is we don’t have identity cards. Youths are extremely key,” Mahere said.
“We know that there is a voter registration suppression strategy by Zec that prevents youths from voting in next year’s elections. Youths are one of most affected people in this country as they do not have jobs.”
Mahere added: “Youths are being given flimsy excuses when they want to register. They will be told there is no electricity, our machines are not operating and we are refurbishing the building. These are the obstacles youths are facing and we are blaming Zec for the low turnout of people who are registering to vote.
“Just to drive my point home, have you heard of any Zec campaign on radio or on ZBC encouraging people to vote?”
Election watchdog, Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust executive director Ignatious Sadziwa said Zec should be disbanded for failing to meet its constitutional obligations.
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“Zec is notorious for failing to meet its constitutional obligations. It’s high time we rethink its composition. It’s high time Zec should be disbanded,” he said.
“It is a mischievous ploy by Zec to frustrate youths and youths constitute a large chunk of the population and it’s very unfortunate that they are being turned away. According to the Constitution, Zec should be neutral and fair and everyone should be given an opportunity to register to vote.”
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana were fruitless as he was not picking up calls.
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