MUTARE – ZANU-PF will next week roll-out an intra-party youth registration exercise in Manicaland to assist those without national identity cards obtain these documents for them to be eligible voters during next year’s harmonised elections.
Zanu-PF national secretary for youth affairs, Kudzi Chipanga last week, said past mistakes in which young voters failed to vote should not be repeated in 2018. Chipanga said next year’s elections would be different as youths would deliver the decisive vote and voice. He said those who would be 18 years next year should be educated on political issues and participate in the elections.
“The youth vote has the potential to be influential in this country. This is the time for youths to become the largest and most powerful group driving future elections in Zimbabwe. We want young people to directly influence issues that will affect their lives for years to come,” said Chipanga.
Chipanga said they would not tire in mobilising young voters. He said Manicaland had an important niche in national politics, and young people should discard the feeling that their votes do not count as their reason for not participating in elections.
“We want Manicaland to deliver, hence the massive intra-party youth registration exercise. First, we want factual statistics on the number of youths in the province and how many of them have and do not have national identity documents. We need to understand the challenges they are facing and see how we can assist them to acquire national identity documents prior to voter registration by ZEC,” said Chipanga.
“Participating in politics is a hard-won right in our nation and youths should not lag behind. Youths should exercise the right to vote as often as they should. We want to promote earlier voting among teenagers and young adults. Building a relationship with the political process as early as possible is key to making voting a lifelong habit,” said Chipanga.
Given the importance of next year’s elections, Chipanga, said the youth league would resort to a number of tactics to psyche the young electorate. Chipanga said young people need to make sure that their views and concerns were addressed by Government and registering to vote was just the first step in this process.
“The 2018 election will be crucial and our youths must deliver that decisive vote for President Mugabe. We are going around all the provinces starting with Mashonaland East, and Manicaland next week, doing a head count for our youths. We do not want any Zanu-PF youth to fail to vote next year because he or she does not have a national identity card. We want to assist all youths from various wards to get IDs to be eligible voters,” said Cde Chipanga.
Chipanga said the on-going Presidential Youth Interface rallies had strengthened unity in Zanu-PF and confirmed the revolutionary party’s immense mobilisation capacity.
He said President Mugabe was moving around meeting and addressing concerns of young people.
“The President is addressing concerns raised during the Youth Interface rallies. We had thousands of youths who were fired during the Government job restructuring who are now back at work following President Mugabe’s directive. A directive was also given for the employment of youth during the dualisation of Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway.
“President Mugabe has also instructed the Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate to come up with fish farming for youths at major dams like Osborne and Tokwe-Mkosi. On the other hand, the Mines Ministry is regularising operations of small-scale miners, the majority of whom are youths. Very soon you are going to see a number of young people being appointed to sit on parastatal boards.
“So, young people no longer have any reason to stayaway because the President is speaking and tackling the issues that matter to them,” said Chipanga.