The youth Coalition on Electoral Reforms has called on the Government and relevant stakeholders to deal with the threat of politically motivated violence ahead of the much awaited March 26 by-elections.
Addressing journalists in Harare last Friday, Avoid Masiraha who is the Youth Forum director called on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to interrogate politicians who are suppressing youth liberties.
“As the Youth Coalition, we express concern over the increasing threat of political violence. Our interface with young people has exposed a lingering threat of political violence with young people being coerced to attend political party meetings against their will.
“It is time the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission come to the party and investigate these people behind denying young people’s freedom to choose their own political affiliation. We cannot have young people leaving in constant fear of victimisation in a free and fair democratic country. Free and fair elections can never be achieved in a hostile environment,” said Masiraha.
He urged the Government to facilitate a conducive environment for youth participation in electoral and national processes.
“As the Youth Coalition we call on government to help us create a conducive environment that encourages youth participation. Our fight is for the removal of all impediments to effective youth participation in elections. Violence must be shunned and perpetrators brought to book, voter education and registration must be prioritised and done in a people centred manner and national IDs must return being a right not a privilege. We call for a conducive environment for the operations of civil society organisations as we drive towards 2023,” he said.
Youths across the political divide have in the past election cycles been employed as a tool to intimidate political rivals and keep populations in check.