HARARE – The Roman Catholic Church has embarked on a massive voter mobilisation drive to ensure the country’s youths participate in next year’s general elections.
Speaking to the Daily News on the sidelines of the Roman Catholic national youth conference held at Kutama last week, chairperson of the National Catholic Youth Council Tendai Karombo, said they were guided by this year’s Catholic bishops pastoral letter “which calls for the participation of all in the electoral processes in choosing their own leaders peacefully.”
“We are engaging with the youths, looking at the situation in our country, encouraging them to be peaceful and that it is not about whose party will win or lose but about claiming our rights to vote for whosoever we wish,” Karombo said.
The church took advantage of the conference, which is held after every four years, to partner organisations dealing with electoral issues such as the Elections Resource Centre (ERC) to educate youths to participate in the country’s political and electoral processes.
She added that working with electoral organisations, the church wanted to “demystify the myths surrounding electoral processes” which scare youths away from participating.
“We need to get all the parishes and get people to organise workshops, inviting organisations working on electoral issues to teach us on what is expected of us as youths so we can be able to partake in national processes, including voting.
“We are Christians and our ways cannot be separated from our politics. When you know what is expected of you as a Catholic, letting your voice being heard through the ballot box.
“Youths need to have information about the new Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system and we are working with Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) to make us understand how to vote from the Catholic perspective.
“I would want to encourage youths to be the candle that lights in the dark, promoting peace and unity, exercise the right to vote and doing so in peace.”
In a pastoral letter released on in June, the Zimbabwe Catholics Bishops Conference (ZCBC) slammed violence, hate speech and called on the government to uphold the Constitution while aligning subsidiary laws to the supreme law ahead of the watershed general elections.
The church called on citizens to register and vote, saying everyone had a duty to elect God-fearing leaders for Zimbabwe who will in turn deliver prosperity and not fake promises. – Daily News