Register to vote, Matobo youths urged

Young people in Matobo have been urged to partake in the mobile biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise to save their constituencies from the delimitation process.

Matobo Youth Development Initiative (MYDI) director Decent Dube noted that their organisation has already embarked on voter registration awareness campaigns in some parts of the district.

Dube said according to the statistics, Matobo South and Matobo North constituencies need at least 5 000 and 2 000 registered voters, respectively, to reach the desired target.

“As an organisation, we have carried out campaigns in Matobo North where we are based raising awareness on the importance of registering to vote. There is a lot of voter apathy amongst the youth hence our involvement in engaging the youths,” Dube said.

“We realised that some young people are reluctant to partake in electoral processes. We took it upon ourselves to engage them-peer to peer-so that they may have a better appreciation. Some refuse to partake saying they feel used by older people so we figured if we talked to them ourselves, they would understand better.”

Dube said the unavailability of resources limits them from accessing the parts of the district thus affecting information dissemination.

“Matobo North is more in the urban areas so movement is not that difficult but then Matobo South is mostly the resettlement and rural areas which are in the periphery. Getting there is not easy. We are mostly worried because they are the ones who need more registered voters,” he said.

“There are a lot of people there yet there are fewer people registered. We ask ourselves how that is so. Should the targeted numbers not be attained we are likely to have one constituency left which would affect the amount of resources that are going to be allocated to us.”

He reiterated that other factors that have affected voter registration are lack of documentation and immigration.

“We have a significant number of people who have no documentation, especially those who were affected by Gukurahundi. Although the government has said on several occasions that victims can come and get documentation, the process is not easy. In Kezi, for example, they have been saying the machine for printing IDs has not been working for the past two months. That means people would have to go to Tshelanyemba or Bhazha which costs about R200 to get there,” Dube said.

“Another challenge is immigration. Parents migrate to South Africa with their documents and as a result their children get turned away from registration centers. This limits the number of people who remain eligible for registering to vote.”

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