Tertiary students are hesitant to participate in electoral processes as they fear abduction, a student from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST ) has claimed.
In July 2020, then an NUST student, Tawanda Muchehiwa, was abducted and brutally assaulted by state security agents.
Speaking during This Morning on Asakhe on voter education in tertiary institutions, Justice Ndlovu, one of the students who mobilised and transported students from NUST and the Bulawayo Polytechnic to register to vote said they are facing challenges in terms of convincing students to go register and vote as most of them have a politicophobia.
“They don’t want to hear anything about politics, when approaching some of them they can tell you that they don’t want to hear about politics and tell you that you can move to other sectors as they are here for education issues not to involve them into politics,” said Ndlovu.
He said some of the students are not even aware of where the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) offices are located in Bulawayo.
“They were getting shocked when they got into ZEC offices in Bulawayo, they thought their offices were in Harare,” said Ndlovu.
“Most of them have fear when it comes to political discourse because they say they fear abductions and the likes. So far, the government usually uses the power to stifle dissenting voices.”
Ndlovu said the Zimbabwean government has created an atmosphere that is not conducive for students to get involved in the political arena.
“The youths are thinking that politics is only for old people, for those who are mature enough, over 40, they are the ones who can participate hence most students shun from politics because they think it’s not their thing, thus the main thing that makes them abstain from participating in the political arena,” he said.
“We have to teach students the importance of registering to vote because some of them don’t even know the importance of registering, I think the best way to make them aware that registering to vote is important is to just give them points to say registering benefits the students and other youths in Zimbabwe.”
Meanwhile, political activist Josphat Mzaca Ngulube said the challenge with voter apathy amongst the youth is due to the fact that voter registration is popularised towards elections.
“I believe that this thing of voter registration should begin way before even just after the election and I think the people who are letting us down are the politicians because what I have seen is they have turned election as a source of employment,” said Mzaca.
He said this has led young people not to take issues of voter registration seriously.
“Part of the constitution should be taught at the school level, part of the importance of voting should be taught in schools it shouldn’t be the responsibility of even parties to teach people about what is very basic like this issue of voter registration,” said Mzaca.