A local youth organisation, Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) is mobilizing two million young voters ahead of the 2018 harmonized elections through a unique project dubbed Ballot Buddies.
Speaking at the launch of the project at a local hotel in Harare on Thursday, YETT Board Chairperson, Sithabelalonke Nyathi said their aim is to enhance active, positive and peaceful participation of all youths in the 2018 electoral process adding that the project as the name suggest seeks to ensure that young people’s fears are addressed to enable them to be buddies with the ballot.
“The name speaks of how youth should be buddies with the ballot for there is nothing to fear but rather there are all good reasons to vote.
“More importantly the name depicts hoe as YETT and our partners we are youth’s Ballot Buddies as we shall become their peers who provide accurate and comprehensive information the election process and motivate them to vote,” said Nyathi.
She added the project is targeted to reach 2 million youth in 10 provinces.
“With an ambitious target of reaching out to 2 million youth in 10 provinces, this project could as well become a substantial part of the upcoming elections, rightfully so as we all know youth constitute 53,74% of the voting population in Zimbabwe,” she said.
In an interview with 263Chat, youths who attended the Ballot Buddies launch said they are not going to register to vote unless they get employment before elections.
“Why is that civil servants are the only ones involved in voter registration training than us the educated youth who are unemployed can’t you see that that’s being unfair so l see no reason of registering to vote while lm not employed,” said Takudzwa Zvirekwi.
“I need to get a job first before they tell me of registering to vote; we spend most of our time walking in the streets despite the fact that we are learned people so how can l be motivated to register to vote,” said Sharon Takombwa.
YETT Director Lucy Mazingi spoke on the need to advocate and lobby political parties and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to involve more youth in the running of elections.
“There is need to advocate and lobby political parties and ZEC to involve more youth in the elections, including increasing their roles in election campaigning as either candidates or campaign leaders & employing them as voter registration and polling officials, to make them feel valued & included.
“Also there is need to motivate more youth to register, CSO partners will need to work with ZEC to ensure that ZEC’s mobile registration units visit places where youth are found in large numbers, such as vendors markets, shopping malls, restaurants, informal industries, vocational training centers and high schools,” she said.
YETT once mobilized the registration and participation of 400 000 youth in the 2008 elections and 550 000 youth in the 2013 elections through the Real Swag is My Vote campaign.