Framing the debate: youth voter registration in Zimbabwe in preparation for 2018 elections
It i evident that Zimbabwe has a very large population of young people. The 2012 Census reports that 76% of Zimbabwe's population is under the age of 35 years, giving Zimbabwe an enormous "youth bulge". Youth bulges can be sources of increased economic prosperity, as in China for example, or soureces of instability as has been argued by a number of authorities.
One important area in which the youth of Zimbabwe can contribute to the betterment of the country is through participation in elections. Here it was disappointing to see that that nearly 2 milliin persons under 35 were not registered voters in 2013. Did this represent apathy amongst the youth, the result of the difficulties placed intheir way in registering, or both?
Whatever the case, the lack of participation by the youth in elections casts a shadow over the claims that Zimbabwe makes to being a democracy, and may seriously undermine the legitimacy of any government that is elected without the consent of this substantial constituency.
The current opinion piece examines the issues around the participation of youth in Zimbabwean elections, highlighting all the concerns around their exclusion and raises the issues that need to be addressed.