2018 hinges on youth vote: MDC

HARARE - The MDC has embarked on aggressive campaign to woo Zimbabwe’s seemingly disinterested youths to register and vote in next year’s national elections which opposition parties plan to contest as a coalition.

This comes as the country is gearing for the watershed polls with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) conducting campaigns to educate ordinary Zimbabweans about the biometric voter registration exercise (BVR) which is due to be launched this year.

Speaking in Norton at the weekend, MDC youth leader Happymore Chidziva said it is important for the youths to register and vote  as 2018 was likely to be decided by their vote.

“We are in this situation because of Mugabe’s misrule, to youths I want to say this is high time we sort all this mess and define our future. This can only be done by registering to vote in the next year elections.

“Your vote as youth is important in this journey of liberating Zimbabweans from this yoke of bondage.

“Our future is in our hands, it is up to us to decide whether we want to continue as educated jobless people or not. 2018 is the right time to deal with Mugabe’s regime,” Chidziva told the Daily News on the sidelines of their Berekea Mwana Tiende campaign.

“It should not be forgotten that for the past 37 years, Mugabe has been the sole leader of the country, and has presided over all the incompetence in government. Then, what will he promise the youths ahead of 23018, which he couldn’t deliver since independence?

“Mugabe’s last election promise to the youth hasn’t been met. Mugabe promised over 2,2 million new jobs to the youth in 2013, but has dismally failed,” added Chidziva.

A fortnight ago, Tsvangirai himself also delivered a warning to youths and first time voters to register and vote in next year’s elections.

“In our last election, only five percent of those between the age of 18 and 35 voted.

“I am now challenging all these young people because you are allowing us the old people to continue defining your future.

“Are you aware that you are outsourcing your future to the old, even to grandfathers like Mugabe. You are outsourcing your future to that old man. What does that mean?

“Let’s all go and register to vote. On voting day, we are not supposed to go home without casting our votes.

“And simply going to vote is also not good enough. We must also defend our vote. We must not leave this duty to only a few people,” Tsvangirai said then.

“I am making a final appeal to you. You are the game changers, as 60 percent of those below the age of 40 are the majority of the country’s population ... unfortunately, you are leaving everything in Tsvangirai’s hands.

“When Zanu PF rigs elections, many of you simply look up to me. Some of you don’t have national identity cards, others do not even make an effort to get these ID cards.

“Yet others don’t even come around on the days to register for elections. So ... you are in effect saying the old generation must define your future,” he added.

The former prime minister in the stability-inducing Government of National Unity made his forceful call at a time that he is on the cusp of finalising coalition agreements with other opposition leaders ahead of next year’s eagerly-anticipated polls.

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