Youths Demand Powers To Recall MPs

HARARE– Youths from across the country have called on the government to implement necessary constitutional amendments to empower citizens the privilege to recall elected officials who do not deliver on their mandate .

By Donald Nyarota

This was said  by a number of youths who attended the just ended Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS) indaba held in the capital.

While current legislation and the whipping system allows political parties to recall their Members of Parliament for violating party codes, voters are not afforded the same opportunity.

ZIMRIGHTS director Okay Machisa said there must be a new way of holding elected officials to account rather than letting them go scot-free without follow ups.

“We should now move from promises into election covenant where we can all hold elected officials to account, to be able to have a checklist to monitor and score the performance of our elected officials.

“We need to move to a certain level where we have concrete agreements with politicians before embarking on elections so that we can be able to hold them accountable, we should have a binding agreement before they can assume office.

“Communities should be able to bind officials who are vying for political offices.They should be able to give powers to give voters to recall them anytime they feel they are failing to deliver,” said Machisa.

Lubalethu Ndlovu a youth activist from Matabeleland metropolitan province said politicians were not keen to involve youths in national governance as they wanted to govern with impunity.

Ndlovu said citizens should be given the power to recall their representatives as they are the one that vote them into office.

“We should be able to recall our politicians because they need to be accountable for what they promise the electorate. The main reason they are at those positions is to serve the interests of the voters.

“I am sure that government does not want youths because they know that the youths are empowered and the fear for being accounted for then forces them to relegate youths,” said Ndlovu.

An election expert who attended the indaba said politicians get away with murder as most of their political pledges are made to entice undecided voters.

He said election promises are mere selling points dangled to voters by politicians who get away with unrealistic promises and no effort is then put to make sure the promises were fulfilled.

“There has never been a political cost to selling promises to people, they make the promises to the undecided because these are fly by night.

“Election promises are just used as selling points for the unconscious voter who already has an agenda, but to those people who are undecided, because there are no costs to these promises politicians always use it and get away with it.

“Its, not right that they abuse voters but that is what is happening on the ground,” said the expert.

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