‘Trust deficit could be fuelling voter apathy’

The breakdown in trust between citizens and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is the biggest issue affecting youth participation in electoral processes, Election Resource Center (ERC) legal officer Takunda Tsunga has opined.

Tsunga said the remarks on a Twitter Space held Thursday by the Center for Innovation and Technology (CITE) on Voter registration: Implications of apathy and exercise update.

“There is a need to address root causes for the increase in voter apathy and I wouldn’t blame it solely on lack of interest by the youths. I think the biggest issue that is affecting youth participation in voting processes is the fact that there has been a breakdown of trust between the citizens and the electoral commission,” said Tsunga.

He said every election seemingly produces disputed results and the youths are identifying these gaps.

“There has been a breakdown of trust between citizens and electoral processes because every election seemingly produces disputed results, every election seemingly produces elections which are not free and fair, the youth themselves identify this and they no longer trust the systems of elections.

“I think this has highly impacted on the levels of voter participation and without addressing these issues we will see an increase in voter apathy as we head towards 2023,” said Tsunga.

Meanwhile, Ekhaya Vote 2023 spokesperson Nkosikhona Dibiti said there are different perceptions that have been cascaded from one person to the other about voting.

“We have been saying to stakeholders such as Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) let us have the platform to talk to these people and hear what they are saying about the processes altogether, you find that in Zimbabwe for me there is a serious perception about elections that has caused a lot of people not to feel or to think that participation will help them at their own level and even in the entire region of the community,” said Dibiti.

He said there is a need to continuously attend to the flaws within the electoral processes so that citizens gain confidence in the processes.

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