As a youth focused organization; we would like to congratulate young people across the province of Matabeleland South for exercising their right to vote in the harmonized elections on the 30th of July 2018 in a very peaceful manner. We applaud them for being responsible enough to the extent of being able to exercise their rights as mentioned by section 67 of the country's constitution. We say this is the beginning of effectively and actively increasing the youth voice in governance, political and democratic processes.
However, as an organization, we are perturbed by the killings of innocent civilians in Harare by the army. What is even painful to us as an organization is that some of the dead civilians were not even part of the demonstrators who were meant to take up the bullets. Today, a family has lost a member while someone has lost a friend and children have lost a parent, which is so sad to the nation as a whole. We are of the opinion that this could have been avoided.
The mayhem in Harare confirms that as a country we are still miles away from observing and respecting our constitution. Section 213 of the constitution states that "only the President, as commander -in-chief, has power to authorize the deployment of the defense forces, and that, with his authority, they may be deployed within Zimbabwe "in support of the Police Service in the maintenance of public order". The question now is which president authorized this, since at that particular moment the country had no President? Again, did the Police service announce that they could not handle the demonstrators for the army to rush in armed as if they were going to war?
As much as this post-election violence happened in Harare, CYDT note with much concern and worrisome, scores of police officer rooming the streets of Gwanda town day and night. This is a sign of great threat, intimidation to citizens who are now guarding on what to say lest they are found on the wrong side of the law.
As an organization that works with young people, we plead with political parties to restrain from issuing sentiments that encourage 'us'; as young people to engage in such actions. We also take note that peaceful demonstrations are permissible by the constitution hence our leaders have to respect that and address the concerns raised thereof.
However, we would like to urge all youths and everyone in the country particularly those in Matabeleland to remain as calm and peaceful as ever. Neither stick, nor bullet can ever fix any wrong. No youth or anyone in particular should die or get hurt in the name of an election.
Community Youth Development Trust is a youth community based organization operating in the heart of Matabeleland South. The organization seeks to empower and capacitate local youths with knowledge and skills so as to make a difference in national, political and social discourse.
Source: Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT)