Community Development Politics

NGO trains voter champions on electoral processes

Voter Champions being trained on electoral processes

By Clayton Masekesa

NYAZURA – A Mutare-based non-governmental organization – Conscious for Development and Empowerment Trust (CODET) – has trained youths to become voter champions who will encourage young people to register to vote and participate peacefully in electoral processes.

CODET trained 40 voter champions from Dangamvura/Chikanga and Mutasa South constituencies at a lodge in Nyazura on Monday this week and will embark on spreading and teaching voter education and electoral processes to youths in various communities.

In an interview on the sidelines of the training workshop, CODET Programmes Manager, Pride Mukono, said the training was to awaken the consciousness of youths on active participation in electoral processes.

Said Mukono: “The training we had with the Voter Champions was aimed at increasing youth participation in electoral processes. As you are aware there is a lot of youth voter apathy in electoral participation. But, if you look at our constitution Section 20 encourages young people to participate politically, socially and economically.”

He added: “We also look at the National Development Strategy (NDS 1). It also speaks about participation. So the training of the Voter Champions is part of our contribution towards attaining those targets. We want to promote the constitution’s provision in terms of Section 20.”

Mukono said the Voter Champions programme seeks to encourage the youths in various communities to become responsible citizens.

“The Voter Champions will then go into their respective communities and encourage the youths to become responsible citizens who exercise their civic duties. You cannot complain about the failure of Councillors and Parliamentarians if you are not participating in the processes of electing them. It is imperative that taking part in civic duties must be taken seriously,” said Mukono.

CODET director, Vimbai Berete, said the Voter Champions will act as agencies that will engage young people to fully participate in electoral processes.

“After this training, the Voter Champions will then go into their wards and constituencies and engage young people to fill the political space by encouraging them to register as voters to vote and take up other civic duties and responsibilities,” Berete said.

“The Voter Champions will also take up such responsibilities, such as attending full council meetings and budget consultative forums among others so that they become a voice and leadership in their communities,” said Berete.

The facilitator of the training workshop, Agatha Chapeyama, trained the Voter Champions on voter registration, the right to vote and be voted for and political apathy, among others.

“Voter education is vital and that is the first step to voting, especially getting registered as a voter first is paramount and continuous education on voters’ registration is very important,” said Chapeyama.

“So, the training is apt for our youths as Voter Champions to get valid means of the importance of fully participating in electoral processes,” she said.

Chapeyama said the training workshop will build the capacity of the Voter Champions.

” This will bring about informed decision-making during electioneering. The youths form the majority of voters, therefore, there is a need for them to be abreast of all the guidelines and trending reforms in the political process,” Chapeyama explained.

A Voter Champion, Sifelani Arufandika said most young people do not participate in the election process because they lack information.

“Many of the youths lack information and understanding of the importance of such processes. Some of our peers are not even aware of voter registration. This is what we will be championing in our various communities,” she said.

Sharlene Sigudhu, another Voter Champion, stressed the importance of enlightening and encouraging young people to register to vote.

“Unfortunately, the youths out there are showing little confidence in the drivers of youth initiatives meant to rally youths to register for voting. Our duty as Voter Champions is to encourage youths to register and vote. They must exercise their right,” said Sigudhu.

The Voter Champions will use various platforms to embark on the voter education and electoral processes.

These include the digital space like Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook among others.

They will also use their family connections, networks and community gatherings.

As Zimbabwe approaches the much anticipated 2023 elections, observers have said voter apathy among the nation’s youths remains a cause for concern.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende