By Florence Zirima
HARARE – Youths urged to get involved in decision making processes at national level and participate in the electoral and economic development issues which are detrimental in decision making and the economy recovery of the country.
A programme which was recently aired out on Star FM radio which focused on youth’s increased participation in electoral processes and promoting young women’s engagement in elections highlighted the importance of youths including young women to participate in national decision making.
The programme was sponsored by UNWomen in partnership with Zimbwabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building together with Zimbwabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Speaking during the programme, African Women Leaders Network Zimbwabwe representative, Tatenda Mavetera said young people should contribute towards the development of the nation.
“We need to understand that when we are young people, we should be able to contribute towards any development that whatever certain decisions are made, they are best made when we are involved”, she said.
Answering the interviewer’s question on why she got involved in electoral processes, Mavetera who is also a Member of Parliament for Chikomba East Constituency revealed the importance of increasing the number of youths in decision making process.
I realised that as young people, we are a bit minimum when it comes to the numbers, so what we want is to increase the number for us to be able to be seen”, she said.
She highlighted the challenges being faced by young people which hinder them to get involved in politics.
“Indeed young people might seem to be very interested but I think they really want to be interested when it comes to applauding other people.
For them to be really involved, I think it’s a matter of them looking at resource constraints which I believe also hinder some of the prospects of young people wanting to get involved in politics”, she said.
She also highlighted the need for youth education on the importance of getting involved in decision making processes.
“Youths need to be continuously conscientised about the importance of them getting involved in electoral processes, the moment they start understanding this they will begin to appreciate it.
I encourage a lot of young people to get involved, the moment they sit at the periphery things won’t be able to come to them. There is nothing too hard for us and since we have got the energy, let’s take up all these roles”, she said.
Kubatana conducted a study on ‘Why Youth Participation in Elections and Governance Is Declining’.
It reveals that literacy gap is one of the reasons that is causing youths not to participate in governance processes.
“There is a serious Constitutional literacy gap among the youth in Zimbabwe, which is hindering them from fully participating in the constitutional narrative of the country thereby limiting effective leadership participation.
Young people need to take the leadership role in amplifying their voices in leading the constitutional discourse in Zimbabwe. The systematic exclusion of youth from all forms of public office has been one of the greatest hindrances to genuine youth participation in leadership, governance, decision-making and public office in Zimbabwe.
In the 2018 elections, only 6 young people under the age of 35 made it into Parliament out of a possible 210 seats.