Parliamentary candidates in Pumula Constituency in Bulawayo have made a clarion call to youths to be alive to their civic responsibility and actively participate in political processes.
Youths make up over 60% of the population but there has been concern that they are not participating fully in the country’s electoral processes.
Speaking at an election debate series, Tuesday in Old Pumula, parliamentary candidates urged young people to show interest in civic processes.
“There is one thing that is missing among youth and from my own surveys I have done to gauge their mood, most youths here are not registered to vote. They forget that tomorrow they are the ones who are supposed to be leading,” said an independent candidate, Thabani Tshuma.
Tshuma’s sentiments come after a plenary discussion where some youths asked the parliamentary candidates what they will do for them once elected.
“Most of the youth are not registered, why? Why are you not taking it up? This is a question I ask because they must stand up today and go register to go vote. Otherwise tomorrow you will be crying that you did not register yet time would have gone,” said Tshuma.
Another parliamentary candidate, Richard Ncube of ZAPU echoed the same concerns, saying youths’ non-involvement in politics was disconcerting.
“When we are out, doing our campaigns, we find the youths drinking and many of them tell you to buy alcohol for them so they can vote for you, which is very unfortunate,” he said.
Ncube indicated should he become an MP, he would create a conducive environment where young people can run their programmes.
“I will do that by organising and planning with the constituency. That’s what I can do because I have no money that I can take from my wallet to give to youths but I can create a conducive environment for development,” he said.
As a way forward, the aspiring MP nudged youth to be interested in civic processes.
“Look at us now, we are here campaigning before the youth because they are not interested in coming forward to take up leadership positions. The youth are not there to take up leadership positions. If you see people moving about doing some community work it will be elderly people. We must revive interest in the youth to be involved in community activities,” Ncube summed.