By Correspondent

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party supporters at Zimbabwe Grounds

Former Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni says the 2023 elections are an opportunity for the youth to create a country they need.

Manyenyeni said the rest of the country are just accessories but for the youths it’s a defining plebiscite.

“The 2023 elections are particularly for those who have individual needs which require national-level solutions.

“Those of us who have already worked, have a house, a car, or have finished paying school fees etc etc are just supplementary voters.

“We are just accesories to the real owners of the elections – the youths.

“We, the old, are only voting to support your needs, your desires and your future,” he said.

Manyenyeni added that youths need a functioning country more than the older generation.

“We don’t need a better-run country as much as you the youths do.

“Our youths who desire to secure a future, jobs, internships, attachment, to afford life & marriage, internet, airtime and transport are the real owners of 2023 elections.

“In the 60’s and 70’s real Zimbabwean youths left whatever comforts the Rhodesian blacks were assured of to rough-it-up hard for real change.

Manyenyeni warned youths that, “this is not the time for Zimbabwean youths to seek success, joy and performance on a UK soccer team.”

Jobless Youth Bulge

In Zimbabwe, youth, below the age of 35, constitute 67.7% of the country’s population.

However, this group has continued to bear the brunt of social, economic, and political exclusion and vulnerability.

An Afrobarometer survey has revealed that only slightly more than half of 18- to 35-year-olds say they will probably or definitely vote.

“The middle-aged (83% of those aged 36-55 years) are more likely to be registered than either their younger counterparts (54% of those aged 18-35 years) or the older generation (72% of those aged 56 years or more).

Ringisai Chikohomero, a researcher at the Institute of Security Studies, said: “I think there is a poor understanding of how unemployment will translate to voting.

“The 2.3-million figure of unemployed youths is just under half of registered voters.

“The challenge is to expect young people to understand the issues of the day to convince them to vote.

“When you equate being young to being pro-change, that is the perception that has to change,” he said.

The gloomy results in relation to the youth vote is bad news for the opposition CCC as it has been banking on their frustration to win the heated contest.

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