Hon. Eddie Cross, MP for Bulawayo South, has urged all young Zimbabweans to stand up and exercise their right in the coming elections by registering to vote and determine their future.
Addressing Christian youths at a Generation Next Summit in Harare at the weekend, Hon. Cross said the biggest challenge in Zimbabwe was the marginalisation of the young. The summit was for the Christian youths to debate about their involvement in sports, politics, media and business as ministry platforms.
"At least 62 percent of the people in the country are below the age of 30," Hon. Cross said. "If young people were to exercise their right to vote, then they would have the power to determine what they want, how they want to be treated and the kind of country they envisage," he said.
The legislator who is also the Secretary for Policy and Research in the MDC said that Christians should at all times hold politicians accountable for their actions, more so if those politicians claimed to be Christians yet every moment they behave in ways contrary to the Biblical principles of leadership as shown by Jesus Christ.
He said people should not elevate a politician to the level of God as has been witnessed in Zanu PF politics.
Turning to the draft Constitution, Hon. Cross said the draft gave the best remedy to the current situation by increasing the mandates of both the Legislature and the Judiciary. "It is important to have checks and balances in place," he added.
The youths said they were interested in participating in political processes but raised concerns over the use of violence during elections. They said many young Christians find it difficult to participate in an uncertain environment more so when the vote is rigged.
The youths were concerned with the voter registration process, which they said was cumbersome and left many eligible voters stranded due to lack of relevant documents such as proof of residence.
One participant said he had tried to register as a voter but was denied the chance on the basis that his aunt's proof of residence was invalid. "Zimbabwe is in the state it is in because someone somewhere chose to be selfish. We need leadership with integrity, leadership that says everyone should see the results and that God gets the glory.
"We want a leadership that inspires more people to partake in national politics. Why can a young Christian not aspire to be a national leader? We call on the politicians to act with integrity knowing that they are in positions of influence.
"What they do and what they say has an implication on thousands of people today and the generation to come," said Munya, one of the participants.