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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.