…as ZEC intensifies media campaigns
As the 2023 harmonized elections draw closer, a number of Masvingo Urban councilors have confirmed that they have already embarked on a voter education drive which seeks to improve youth participation in electoral processes.
TellZim News caught up with some councillors who revealed that they were making frantic efforts to maximize youth participation which will likely improve voter turnout in the forthcoming elections.
Ward 1 Councilor, Alderman Selina Maridza said she is capitalizing on all social gatherings where youths will be gathered to spread the gospel of registering to vote.
“I am trying my best to bring awareness amongst the youth in my ward. Whenever I see a group of young people playing soccer, at shopping centres or at boreholes, I educate and encourage them to go and register to vote. I have assisted some of them to access national identity documents so that they can be able to register,” said Maridza.
Ward 10 Councilor, Sengerayi Manyanga said due to Covid-19 restrictions that bar people from gathering he has resorted to utilizing online media platforms to rally youths to vote.
“I am using social media platforms like WhatsApp and have created groups targeting youths in my ward so that I can encourage them to go and register to vote. Statistics show that the youth are not registering to vote so in almost every WhatsApp group, I urge youths to register to vote,” said Manyanga.
Deputy Mayor and Ward 6 Councilor, Wellington Mahwende said he has lined up sporting events to spread awareness but was waiting for the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.
“I have lined up a number of soccer and netball matches for youths as a way to rally them to register to vote in 2023 so am just waiting for Covid-19 regulations to be relaxed. I have already bought new balls and kits,” said Mahwende.
Ward 8 councilor, Against Chiteme who is also a religious sect leader said he is capitalizing on that platform to implore those eligible to vote to go and register.
“Everyone should go out in their numbers to exercise their right and register to vote. I am also spreading the message through church platforms and through social media platforms because we cannot gather due to Covid-19 restrictions,” said Chiteme.
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Masvingo has also collaborated with various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to intensify their voter registration campaign in rural areas.
ZEC Deputy Provincial Election Officer, (PEO) Maxwell Ncube said they are working with NGOs in spreading the message to the people in rural areas.
“We are working with a number of NGOs which are helping in spreading the message in rural areas especially where there is limited radio frequency. We have people who are doing awareness campaigns in rural areas,” said Ncube.
Some of the organizations which have been working on voter education campaigns include; Elections Resources Centre (ERC) and Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN).
ZEC Masvingo managed to register only 72 people across all the seven districts in June, where Gutu had 44 new voters, Masvingo registered 23, Chiredzi four, Mwenezi one while Bikita, Chivi and Zaka offices did not record any new voter.