The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) which served the recently held Mberengwa and Nyanga council by-elections say youths need to be politically literate for them to be highly motivated to take part know the elections and the voting processes.
The election watchdog’s report from the weekend’s elections indicated that there was a low youth turn out which could be a worrying trend as the country gears up for the 2023 elections.
“The participation of youths in the by-elections was noticeably low. There is a need for greater political literacy amongst the youth for them to make use of political and electoral rights afforded them by the Constitution.
“This would translate into improved turnout for Local Authority by-elections which in comparison with national assembly by-elections are regarded as less important,” ZESN said in its report.
Both wards recorded a turnout above 50% with the highest turnout being of Mberengwa Ward 15 which recorded a turnout of 58.24% and Nyanga Ward 27 53.2%, which was relatively high as compared to turnout in the previous by-elections such as Bulilima RDC Wards 1 and 16 which recorded 50.8% and 50.3% respectively.
Further, in Chitungwiza Ward 7, Mutare Ward 14 and 16, Rusape Ward 5, Pfura Ward 40, Kariba Ward 3, 4 and 8 local authority by-elections, none of the Wards recorded a turnout above 50%.
ZESN said there is a need for ZEC and CSOs to provide continuous civic and voter education focusing on polling requirements to reduce instances of turned away and redirected voters.
It further stated that there is a need for voters to make use of the voters’ rolls displayed outside polling stations to enable them to identify the polling stations where they are supposed to cast their vote to reduce instances of being turned away or redirected to other polling stations.