The Election Resource Centre (ERC) is launching a campaign dubbed X1G Reeloaded which seeks to enhance effective participation of youths, aged between 18 and 35 years old, in electoral processes such as voter registration and voting. The campaign also intends to build the capacity of young men and women to engage with election authorities, advocate for a conducive environment and play an oversight role thereby contributing towards the holding of free, fair and credible electoral processes.
The campaign was initially launched as X1G (first time voter generation) in 2012 ahead of the 2013 harmonised elections and mutated to X1G Reeloaded where it expanded from merely being aimed at raising awareness on electoral processes and getting out the vote, to encouraging the youth to engage electoral authorities and advocate for electoral reform and a more conducive environment for more effective youth participation.
Who is a First Time Voter?
Previous elections have shown an apparent abstention from electoral processes by young people in Zimbabwe due to various factors which include lack of interest, lack of required documentation such as identity cards and proof of residence, exclusion from policymaking processes, limited and irrelevant voter education and voter suppression. Unverifiable conservative estimates put the number of the youth voting population at 67% therefore it is critical and is in the national interest to allow them to play their part in national processes. Section 67 (2) (c) (d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013 provides that;
The youth population thus deserves a chance to contribute to Zimbabwe’s democracy and development not only because they are Zimbabweans, but because they already constitute a ‘critical mass’ with a lot to contribute to their country.
“…every Zimbabwean citizen has the right to participate in peaceful political activity and to participate, individually or collectively, in gatherings or in any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the Government or any political or whatever cause.”