ZEC, AU engages youths on electoral processes

By Fungai Jachi
Participation of young people in electoral processes has been identified as a critical element for inclusive development.

Despite being the largest population group in the country, Youth participation in electoral processes remains low, hence the need to capacitate young people on electoral processes to ensure inclusive development.

This has seen the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the African Union convening an intensive training programme for youths drawn from various organisations including the church, media and civic society on the importance of participating in electoral processes.

“Youth participation in electoral processes is critical because they make the largest population and they have to be able to choose who they want to be led by and just have an appreciation of the whole process,” said Justice Priscilla Chigumba, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson.
“As the African Union we are undertaking this programme to ensure that young people have an understanding of the electoral processes. Most young people are not interested but we are saying they are the future and they have to be well vexed with what happens before during and after elections,” said Ambassador Salah Hammad, African Union Head of AGA Secretariat.

The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Honourable Kirsty Coventry challenged youths to participate in electoral processes.

“This training is important because young people have to be encouraged to participate in electoral processes. Young people should have a voice and their voice can only be recognised if they know how the process works. So it is critical that they are capacitated,” said the minister.

Zimbabwe becomes the first country in Southern Africa to benefit from the AU training programme and the second in Africa after Gambia.