As Zimbabweans heads for the 2023 elections, calls from the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) are mounting to have more young people voting to manifestly improve the lives of the youth battling unemployment and the rising living costs.
Young people have become the face of voter apathy in Zimbabwe, as few are participating in electoral processes.
Some young people have brazenly said ‘voting does not help’ but the opposition CCC stresses that an individual’s vote actually can change the outcome, as many elections are decided by mere hundreds of votes.
“Zimbabwe is at the turn of an age, I was speaking to a group of young people, ama2000 and said whether you realise it or not, whether you accept the enormity of the moment or not, Zimbabwe is at the cusp of something that is monumental what is about to happen in the next 12 months going to make or break for a number of people’s lives,” said CCC national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere at a Twitter space organise by the party’s supporters based in the Diaspora recently.
The Twitter space was part of a campaign to raise funds for the Bulilima by-elections, which will take place on September 3, 2022, in Ward 1, 14 and 16.
Mahere said the next 12 months were going to determine what Zimbabwe’s collective future for the next five years after the 2023 polls would look like.
“Whether you are a student in high school, in college currently or starting out, you’re a graduate of medical school or law school, a professional, an entrepreneur, vendor, rural teacher or whatever it is, the decision you are going to make over the next 12 or so months is really going to determine, what our collective future for the next five years and possibly beyond will look like,” she said.
“Do we want leaders who have our interest at heart or not? Do we want leaders who loot natural resources and whatever reserves the nation has or not? Do we want leaders who invest in our public health schools? Do we want leaders who have an interest in making sure that we have a functional banking system.”
The CCC spokesperson claimed Zimbabwe was “limping” behind other African countries, who were progressing ahead.
“I have travelled around Africa, sat on quite a few forums and Zimbabwe is left behind. Ghana and Nigeria are steaming ahead, Kenya is roaring past us, Zambia even South Africa, which is said to be in a crisis but is way ahead of us,” Mahere said.
She added that Zimbabwe has started to become, if it had not already, been “the sick man of Africa.”
Mahere pointed out that Zimbabweans were the only people who could save themselves from the crisis in the country.
“We really can’t look to anyone. Nobody is interested in solving this crisis for us. It is the sort of crisis that is ours to fix or allowed to continue. So, we really have a huge responsibility, so long as you’re 17 years old today and above, the future is in your hands,” she said.
“We have the keys, literally the power to remove dictatorship, corruption, violence from governance and restore ethical leaders or to leave the situation as it is.”
The CCC spokesperson highlighted that the ruling regime was benefitting from narratives that voting does not change anything so it could stay in power.
She said all these machinations were done, as the ruling Zanu PF knew voting could literally make a difference of whether they continued in power or not.
“So, the call to action cannot be clearer. We have a huge responsibility to participate for change. It’s not just a question of voting but participating. Sometimes, young people complain that the reason we don’t want to vote is we don’t have anyone to vote for. While it’s time to step up, nobody is too young to run. We have to participate in our respective communities and try to participate in building the change that we want to see in our society,” Mahere noted, quoting interim CCC party leader, Nelson Chamisa who has said, “This is going to be an election like no other.”