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Survey: Most Zimbabwe Youths Not Interested in Elections

FILE - Zimbabwean women react as they wait to casts their votes at a polling station in Domboshava, about 45 km (28 miles) north of Harare, July 31, 2013.

Results of a survey on voter registration and related issues in Zimbabwe show that although 80 percent of the population is interested in elections and 75 percent are registered to vote, the majority of youths are not interested in elections at all.

The survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute on behalf of the Elections Resources Centre (ERC) show that only 28 percent of the youths in the 18 to 25 years and 38 percent of the 26 to 35 year age groups are interested in elections compared to more than 56 percent in the 61+ age group.

Harare resident, 26 year old John Sigauke, is among youths who have lost interest in national and local government elections.

Sigauke says all current leaders do not inspire him to vote in any election.

Another Harare youth, 29 year old Reason Phiri, says he has lost interest in elections because they do not change anything in this country.

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, Pedzisai Ruhanya, who attended the unveiling of the survey results says the findings are not surprising.

He says youths have lost interest in politics as they are not getting any favorable results.

Other key findings of the survey are that people in rural areas are much more aware of what is required to register to vote than their urban counterparts.

About 93 percent of those surveyed said they had access to election-related material saying they got most of it from community meetings and state-owned radio stations like Radio Zimbabwe.

Civil society organizations (CSOs) at less than one percent were insignificant in the dissemination of election related information despite receiving thousands of dollars from donors to cater for such activities.

ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini, says this is not surprising given that they are not allowed to freely carryout civic education.

ZimRights director, Okay Machisa, says while they cannot dismiss the survey’s findings on civic society organizations, the findings do not reflect that some of the community meetings which constitute the main source of elections information were organized by CSOs.

Other findings are that while slightly more than half of the of respondents are aware that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is responsible for voter registration, less than half do not trust it.

The survey, conducted between February 20 and March 5 this year, involved 1,200 randomly selected adult respondents from in the country’s 10 provinces. It focused on specific issues such as awareness on voter registration, preferred mode of voter registration, participation and interest in elections and awareness and trust in ZEC.

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