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GoVote2023: Mobilizing Students And Young People Towards The Election

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By Boris Muguti

On Monday, 10 July 2023, we in the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) launched a campaign dubbed #GoVote2023. Following the launch, many questions have been raised about our particular campaign, the most important being what it means. In this piece, I will shed more light on the campaign and how students and young Zimbabweans can come on board and be part of it.

The #GoVote2023 campaign comes as an extension of the broader campaign which was launched by ZINASU early this year which is themed; ‘Reclaiming the dignity of students through the ballot.’ This is our political program which we launched to ensure that students and young people play a key role in the upcoming election. In the last phase of the campaign ZINASU focused on making sure that students and young people across the country become registered voters. We also honed in on spreading voter education in communities.

That particular phase of the campaign came to an end in May 2023 when the election date was proclaimed. The fact that one is a registered voter is not guarantee that he/she will go and cast his/her vote on the polling day. Hence there is need to keep students and young people reminded that they have to go out and vote on the 23rd of August. Research shows that in 2018 about 40% of young people who were registered to vote did not turn up to vote on the 30 July 2018 to cast their votes.

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Thus the #GoVote2023 campaign serves to reduce voter apathy among the youths, particularly students. This election means a lot to students and all young people across Zimbabwe. It comes at a time at which their future has been ruined and their freedoms have been taken away by the military regime. It therefore high time for young people to rise up and defend their future through the ballot. Malcolm X once said “the ballot is stronger than the bullet” and yes we shall rise up and defend our future through the ballot. The ballot will liberate us on 23 August if we unite as a generation and act responsibly.

Due to the fact that almost all Universities are closed and all Polytechnic Colleges and Teachers’ Colleges are closing in the coming days, the following ways will be used to roll out the campaign:

1. Social media

The campaign is running online and anyone can join it from anywhere and at anytime using the following #GoVote2023 and #StudentsVote. To play an active role in this campaign or become part of it people can; record videos or write short messages encouraging students and young people to go out and vote on 23 August.

Why social media?
Social media plays a fundamental role in facilitating global conversations, breaking down barriers and fostering collaboration. In the Zimbabwean context the regime of Emmerson Mnangagwa is refusing to implement media reforms. All state media is in the armpits of the ruling party ZANU PF. State media is always glorifying Mnangagwa and his party which leaves one wondering whether companies like ZBC really qualify to be referred to as “state media” or they are private media houses for the ruling party ZANU PF. Hence under such circumstances social media becomes a powerful alternative to reach out to millions of people across the country.

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2. #GoVote2023 community teams.
Given that many students are at home now. We are coming up with #GoVote2033 teams and these are small groups comprising of students and young people in different communities across the country. These teams are targeting areas like playing grounds, Wi-Fi hotspot areas, betting shops and pubs where young people are normally found. Our teams will use this opportunity to preach the gospel to our fellow young people and encourage them to go out and vote in their numbers on the Election Day.

N.B we are releasing fliers carrying messages about why students young people should go out and cast their votes on 23 August. Follow us on Facebook: Zimbabwe National Students Union or on Twitter: @ZinasuZim to get access to our fliers.

Not voting is voting for the incumbent government. #GoVote2023! Let’s all go out and vote for betterment.

Boris Muguti is the current President of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)

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