By Own Correspondent
Harare, June 17, 2016 – ZIMBABWEAN youths have been challenged to take a leading role in determining their own future through active participation in democratic and electoral processes in their country.
Speaking during the annual Day of the African Child commemorations in Harare on Thursday, Election Resource Centre (ERC) Communications and Advocacy manager, Tatenda Mazarura, said youths were the game changers.
“The turning point of every struggle is when the youth show wisdom, courage and resilience to ensure that their voices are heard. This is the only way that they can protect their inheritance and future,” she said.
Mazarura said the challenges facing Zimbabwe today were almost similar to the challenges that were faced by the youth in apartheid South Africa.
“The imposition of ideological ethos, pledges, rampant corruption, mal-practice, mal-administration, economic decline, unequal distribution of national resources and the general ineffectiveness of the current generation of leaders in Zimbabwe who are pretending to fight for the youths, when they are not youths, has a negative bearing on the future of the youths,” she said.
Mazarura said youth’s demographic superiority, if leveraged, could determine the outcome of elections and quality of leadership and governance across the continent.
“It should therefore be the responsibility of young people to shape the future of the nation. The youth should not be by-standers in democratic and electoral processes.
“They must not short-change their future by being willing mercenaries and foot-soldiers for the price of intoxicating substances or money as traditionally witnessed in the country,” said Mazarura, who has been fighting for youths’ rights for close to a decade now.
According to the last population census in 2012, the demographic nature of the Zimbabwean population indicates that over 60% of the population are aged below 35 years of age and over 30% are eligible to vote.
However, few youths in the country have shied away from taking part in electoral processes with the few active ones being used as campaign or violence tools by older politicians.
Mazarura said as Africa commemorates the Day of the African Child youth must take it as an opportunity to introspect and desist from negatively participating in democratic and electoral processes.