Manipulation of youths continues to be one of the leading causes of political violence in Zimbabwe amid calls for civil society to create platforms aimed at encouraging peace and tolerance among the youths.
Ahead of the March 26, 2022 by-elections, political tensions have heightened with the ruling party, Zanu PF unleashing a wave of violence against opposition supporters.
This has been worsened by the fact that senior ruling party officials, including its Second Secretary and Vice President, Retired General Constantine Chiwenga continue to publicly incite violence against the opposition.
The Director of Youth Forum, Avoid Masiraha said civil society has a critical role to play in ensuring peace and tolerance before, during and after elections.
“There is a serious need to engage youths across political parties and discuss these issues of violence and manipulation. Such forums will help to build tolerance and thereby encourage peace. It is unfortunate that youths continue to be manipulated to engage in acts of violence.
“This is a call for civil society to act and create platforms aimed at encouraging peace and tolerance. Civil society has a critical role to play in encouraging peaceful elections that will lead to credible outcomes,” said Masiraha.
Youth Alliance for Democracy Director, Tichaona Masiyambiri echoed the same sentiments saying the electoral code of conduct should be adequately enforced to punish perpetrators of violence.
“This is an unfortunate culture that has characterized past successive elections in Zimbabwe and it is unfortunate that the youths are being used by politicians to engage in violence. It is necessary to ensure we make efforts towards discouraging violence and reach out to stakeholders to ensure we deal with political violence and promote tolerance.
“Political leaders must show maturity and refrain from perpetrating violence. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has a role to play in enforcing the electoral code of conduct to ensure people behind violence are punished for their acts,” said Masiyambiri.