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Youth lay demands for elections
Youth Agenda Trust
April 16, 2013

Youth in Chitungwiza on Sunday laid down demands that they said would enable the holding of a free and fair poll ahead of the watershed plebiscite expected later this year.

Speaking to Youth Agenda Trust on the sidelines of the Play Your Vote Sports Tournament held in Zengeza 3, youths drawn across Chitungwiza said the Inclusive Government must fix all outstanding issues in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) before elections are held.

Among some of the reforms the youths demanded included security sector realignment, a robust national healing and reconciliation framework, audit of the voter’s roll and comprehensive voter education and education on the new constitution.

The youths also challenged the principals to the GPA to assure the youths that the violence that rocked the 2008 elections will not erupt again as Zimbabwe looks at turning a new corner and emulate the recent elections in Kenya.

The youths who were from various political and social affiliations said they want international observers to come and monitor the elections and for SADC to ensure that Harare strictly adheres to the body’s guidelines on the conduct of free and fair elections.

“We do not want to be bullied by politicians this time around. The last time we witnessed our brothers and sisters running away from their homes, all in the name of elections. We do not want that situation to be repeated again. As the youth of Chitungwiza, we have all come together today to speak out against violence in all its different forms, said Obey Mwariwangu of Zengeza.

A petition by the youths will soon be tabled before the principals to the GPA which clearly outlines the demands of the youths as well as a collective youth manifesto.

T-shirts and caps with voter education messages aimed at young people provided with support from the Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) were distributed. The regalia were inscribed with messages, “Real Swagg is My Vote” and “Kana usina kuregister wakasara”.

Meanwhile, the sports tournament which was organized by Youth Agenda to urge the youth to register to vote was briefly disrupted by a group of suspected Zanu PF supporters driving a white Honda CRV. They left the ground after making several movements across the soccer field before they went to fetch the officer in charge at St Mary’s police station identified as Inspector Badza.

Badza came and quizzed the youth on the motive of the sports games and confessed that he had been tipped off by Zanu PF supporters but found no offence with the activities.

The incident served a reminder that despite all the efforts that are being made to inculcate a culture of peace in the country, there are some who are still living in the past and do not want to repent.

In 2008, Zimbabwe held a forgettable run-off election that ended up with President Robert Mugabe as the sole contestant and winner but saw hundreds of innocent Zimbabweans perishing while others were left without limbs. The election was widely condemned and described by SADC as a sham.

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