By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO’s MDC Alliance provincial youth assembly has been given a task of recruiting 12% of the targeted one million new first-time voters as the party forges ahead with its recruitment drive in a campaign dubbed #OneMillionVotes.
The MDC Alliance youth assembly in November launched a voter registration campaign in Bulawayo targeting one million first-time voters, particularly the youth, to guarantee a crushing victory against the Zanu PF candidate President Emmerson Mnangagwa in any upcoming elections.
Government has suspended the holding of elections citing Covid-19 restrictions, but the main opposition party said it did not want to be caught unawares when the suspension is lifted.
Voter registration, however, is not suspended.
MDC Alliance youth secretary-general Gift Ostallos Siziba said Bulawayo had been given a target of recruiting 12% of the one million first-time voters.
“The second capital of our motherland, Bulawayo, has been given a task to recruit 12% of our total target. It’s a new wave of generational transformation, ideological clarity and class consciousness,” Siziba said.
“New recruits are the cream of our struggle for change.”
In 2018, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said 60% of registered voters for that year’s general elections were 40 years and below, meaning that the youth vote will play a decisive role in the 2023 poll outcomes.
However, research shows that participation by the youth has been low amid calls to create political, structural and physical spaces that allow for their meaningful participation.
According to analysts, this could include allocating quotas among other initiatives to young people and prioritising youth empowerment.
In August, the Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) petitioned Parliament protesting over lack of youth representation from the district up to the national level as they demanded a 30% quota.
The CYDT in their petition argued that they approached Parliament to ensure that the rights of the youth are constitutionally guaranteed.