News / Africa

Zimbabwe NGOs Urge Youths to Vote

Zimbabwean soldiers look on as Zanu PF youths march for President Robert Mugabe at a rally in Bulawayo, June 20, 2008.
Zimbabwean soldiers look on as Zanu PF youths march for President Robert Mugabe at a rally in Bulawayo, June 20, 2008.
HARARE — In Zimbabwe, a coalition of youth organizations has launched a campaign urging young people to participate in the country’s elections. The organizations say the "First Time Voters Campaign" or “X1G” will be a deciding factor in Zimbabwe’s next polls, expected by June 2013. 

Youths let’s go

We are in Bulawayo at the National Art Gallery where youths launched the "First time voters campaign" or “X1G.”  The song fits the occasion:Youths let’s go (and participate in elections.)

Liberty Bhebhe, the head of the National Youth Development Trust which is one of the eight organizations behind the X1G campaign, says X1G is all about fighting voter apathy. They are targeting at least one million youths to register as voters. He also explains why youths in Zimbabwe do not want to participate in elections.

“But you realize that they find themselves in condition of poverty because they are not participating in these processes," says Bhebhe. They really need to be motivated. Some of them will tell you that the electoral framework is not good for a free and fair election. A little more of the youths vote can actual bring the change that young people wants. It has not counted [in] previous elections.”

A reference to past

That was a reference to the disputed 2008 elections. Movement for Democratic Change party leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential vote, but pulled out of the runoff after supporters of President Robert Mugabe launched a campaign of brutal violence against MDC supporters.  

Leslie Ncube, the secretary general of Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party Youth Wing, attended the launch of X1G. He says young Zimbabweans must actively participate in politics.

"They should clearly map out their destiny through a vote.  We also are ensuring that youths engage in peace[ful] means,"says Ncube. "We abhor all forms of violence and we are saying we are a united Zimbabwe, across from all political divide."

Engaging in politics

Nyasha Sengayi of Zimbabwe Young Women for Peace Building thinks the X1G is the panacea to ensure women and youths get re-engaged in politics.

"Young women have not been participating in electoral process because it has not been safe space in the past decade,"she says. "Considering the violence which has been there. We felt that our participation within the First Voters Generation would be space for safe engagement because we are operating on values of non-violence, tolerance and peace, which are very the things which we think will assure young women the need to participate in the First Voters campaign. "

It remains to be seen if Zimbabwean youths will heed the call to vote. The most recent official figures indicate that less than 50 percent of Zimbabweans under age 35  are registered voters.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs