Matobo Youth Development Initiative has called on stakeholders to come up with strategies to ensure that young people participate in electoral processes and eliminate voter apathy.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has since warned that Matabeleland risks losing a number of constituencies as a result of low voter registration in the region.
Matabeleland South had the lowest number of new voter registrants during the recently ended voter registration blitz, with 2 244 new voters.
In an interview with CITE, Director for Matobo Youth Development Initiative, Decent Dube said there is concern about voter apathy among the youths.
“There are issues of distance. Some of them have to board buses more than 60 km which is costing them R200 to and from,” said Dube.
He said the other issue is the failure to access documentation by the youth as it affects their participation in electoral processes.
“There is also the issue of them failing to access documents for them to register and there is only one place in Matobo where you can acquire national documentation. “
“In Kezi, there is one machine printing national IDs and it was not operating until last week, it has been not operating for over six months, can you imagine how many people have been affected, so we are hoping that people are going to utilize the registry office now that it is functioning,” said Dube.
He added that the few new registered voters during the blitz show voter apathy in the district.
“This can be attributed to lack of documentation, lack of information awareness, there was no information awareness, there was no awareness done on the part of Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), of course, some Civil Society Organisations tried to share the information and staff but there is lack of urgency among young people, you see that they are not taking this issue of the electoral process seriously.
“There is a need for all stakeholders to come to come up with a strategy to ensure that people participate in the electoral process,” said Dube.
He added that “there is no political will from the registry office to register people because if there was a will they were going to assist young people to acquire their IDs.”