When young people are marginalized or disengaged from political processes, it means a significant portion of the population has little to no voice or influence in the decision making processes that affect them.
For political systems to be representative, all demography in the society must be included. Young people need to be adequately represented in political institutions, processes and decision making and particularly in election processes.
Over the years, there have been questions raised on whether young people are ready to get involved in the electoral process of the country, which ZANU PF has tried to address by slowly inviting youths to participate in the electoral processes, and has gone further to appoint most of them into decision making positions within Government.
The ballot box remains a fundamental avenue for young Zimbabweans to elect leaders who will foster social change and generate economic opportunities on the continent.
Previously, most of the youths chose to stay home on election day because they felt all the political parties were more or less the same but that has long ceased to be the case since the coming in of the New Dispensation.
One key imperative for the New Dispensation has been to identify key demographic of the population that is the youth. The embracing of youths by ZANU PF encouraged them to start associating themselves and also to appreciate the old guard, as well as being part and parcel of their initiatives and reform agenda.
People have witnessed the propagation of democratic processes within ZANU PF especially in this election, where the playing field is even and peaceful. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has called on the people of Zimbabwe to maintain peace, move away from violence and embrace tolerance pre, during and post the upcoming Harmonised General Elections.
President Mnangagwa has opened the democratic space which has witnessed more young people taking part in the democratic processes. President Mnangagwa has initiated many development projects and commissioned them, inspiring the youth to participate in the country’s politics.
The Government has been making bold moves to put in place programmes that ensure that the youths actively participate in political, social and economic arena.
This move by ZANU PF inspired the youths to desire to take part in decision making or in pertinent debates on key socio-economic and political issues despite their sensitivity to the demands for social equity and justice, environmental protection and cultural diversity.
The inclusion of youths by the Government has become apparent to any observer due to the large number of youthful aspiring candidates that submitted their Curriculum Vitaes, showing intent to represent the revolutionary Party ZANU PF in the upcoming elections and by their participation in the recent internal party primary elections.
Political participation is not only a fundamental political and democratic right but also is crucial to building stable and peaceful societies and developing policies that respond to the specific needs of the younger generations.
The fanatical interest by a large number of young people to contest the elections under ZANU PF banner testifies of the revolutionary Party’s transformational and reformative agenda, including its ability to assimilate within its ranks all people from different social strata.
The youths seem to have been galvanised in embracing a new sense of purpose given the various initiatives that we have been witnessing being implemented by the Government.
In the past, many tended to believe that their voices were not going to be heard or that they will not be taken seriously even if they are heard. But since the coming in of the Second Republic, their rights have been given necessary knowledge and capacity to participate in a meaningful way at all levels.
The interest from youth to participate in the mainstream politics has indeed set a beam of light in the political arena in anticipation of great ideas coming in as we strive together to develop our country. Youth political participation joined together, can lead to a positive change for everyone and every community in Zimbabwe.
To make a difference in the longer term, it is essential that young people are engaged in formal political processes and have a say in formulating today’s and tomorrow’s politics.
Hence, Zimbabwe’s aspiration to becoming an equitable prosperous Upper Middle-Income Society/Economy by 2030 is dependent on the decisions that the country makes with its youth demographic dividend.
Additionally, ZANU PF has been talking about economics, business, employment creation, it has been talking a lot about business development and youth empowerment. So there are issues that have captured the interest of young people. Furthermore, Government will not change on its own and the only miracle that will continue to serve this nation is team work from every spectra.