As 2023 harmonised elections draw closer, Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust (ZEAT) has urged young generation to be active participants in the electoral cycle to ensure there is sustainable development in their communities.
The electoral cycle appreciates elections as a continuos processes rather than isolated events.
At most general level, the electoral cycle is divided in three main periods, the pre electoral period, the electoral period and post election period.
Notably, the electoral cycle has no fixed starting or ending points, which is also true for the three periods and the for the segments within the cycle.
However, some post electoral period activities may be still ongoing when activities related to the subsequent electoral cycle commence.
Similary, some segment, such as civic education and support of political parties, cut across the whole cycle and are therefore to be considered ongoing activities throughout the three periods.
ZEAT Executive director Ignatius Sadziwa said youths consist of two thirds of the population and over years have not been participating in the electoral cycles due to a number of barriers such as geographical location, religious beliefs, and unemployment.
He discouraged youths from indulging in societal vices such as drug abuse and participate more in electoral cycles as they are future leaders.
“It`s high time, we start to involve the younger generation to leadership positions in all sectors whether politics, economically, socially or religious so as to motivate them to be electoral participants as they are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Sadziwa.
He said over the years, the country`s political environment has been pushing away youths to participate in electoral activities.
“As ZEAT, we discovered that over the years, our political environment was toxic and it pushed away youths to participate in electoral activities.
“We are trying to come with a number of initiatives such as awareness campaigns, training workshops and conferences so as to boost their confidence to take part in the electoral cycle,” said Sadziwa.
He said as ZEAT they were playing a critical role in empowering communities to enjoy sustainable economic justice by promoting women, youths, people living with disability, aliens especially those living in the rural areas to participate in electoral activities.
He said youths participation in electoral cycle will empower them to be gatekeepers for their resources thus enabling them to get employment and business opportunities.
“By participating in the electoral cycle, youths will be politically and economically literate and their participation will improve service delivery as they will make office bearers account for their actions,” said Sadziwa.
He said such participation will also helping in the grooming of young leaders in the political market.
“Interaction will bring demand driven ideas as opposed to imposed ones. It will also improve and nourishes leadership as new ideas will come from young citizens who are in sync with new paradigms,” said the director.
Electoral cycle support development agencies and partner countries to plan and implement electoral assistance within the democratic governance framework by thinking ahead 5 to 10 years, rather than reacting to electoral event as it occurs.
In order to achieve this, it is crucial to acknowledge at both the political and operational levels every time a decision to support an electoral process is made, such a decision entails an overarching involvement and commitment to the democratic evolution of the concerned country far beyond the immediate event to be supported.
ZEAT is a non partisan and non profit election support organisation that advocates for free, air and transparent and credible elections.