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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles


  • Zvimba police bar YAT sports tournament
    Youth Agenda Trust
    July 22, 2013

    Police in Zvimba on Friday barred Youth Agenda Trust (YAT) from conducting a Play Your Vote Sports Tournament that was scheduled for Vanad Mine in Zvimba North constituency the following day. The tournament, which is part of a series of outreach activities that YAT is doing as part of civic education ahead of the July 31 polls, was aimed at encouraging youths to positively participate in elections and shun violence. Delivering the message, Zvimba police told YAT Coordinator for Mashonaland West, Ishmael Gava, that the event should not take place citing unspecified political reasons. The police details immediately revoked a clearance they had issued earlier on.

    Meanwhile, YAT had to reschedule the tournament to yesterday (Sunday) at Tiger Reef Mine where youths from rival Zanu-PF and MDC-T youths took part in the Play Your Vote Sports Tournament where they opened up on the political environment in the area. The youths who refused to be named for fear of reprisals told YAT that they peacefully co-existed with each other and often organize similar social events but laid the blame on political leaders whom they said are always gripped with fear of the unknown. The youths said that they were looking forward to the polls and would participate peacefully without unleashing violence on each other.

    Speaking to the youths, YAT programs manager Lawrence Mashungu said that the new Electoral Act has brought about positive provisions which outlaws the previous ones that exposed the electorate to intimidation and manipulation. Mashungu also shared with the youths what it meant to participate in national polls by emphasizing that it is their right guaranteed by the constitution which no-one may take away.

    “Do not be hoodwinked, when you get into the polling station, no one will see who you voted for. People who say that are afraid of losing elections, they will simply be trying to intimidate you,” said Mashungu.

    Mashungu also called on the youths to ensure they carry proper documents on the voting day and turn out in numbers and cast their votes. Towards the end of the event, some Zanu-PF elders who were not happy with the spirit shown by the youths, tried to disrupt the event by causing unnecessary skirmishes but the youths could have none of it.

    Meanwhile, YAT condemns the action by the police to revoke a police clearance and this serves to confirm widespread fears that security agents in the country do not tolerate and appreciate the work the civil society organisations are doing in complementing government work. YAT also views the latest stunt by security agents as a ploy to create an uneven playing field. For as long as civil society organisations are not allowed to conduct their work without hindrance, that election cannot be said to be free or fair. Realising the incapacities of the country’s electoral body (ZEC) we maintain that CSOs should be allowed to complement the body through civic education.

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