Monday, March 14, 2011

Our youths and this year’s elections

Our youths and this year’s elections
By The Post
Mon 14 Mar. 2011, 04:00 CAT

A society which values its future accords the highest priority to the meaningful participation of its young people in its affairs.

We must involve young people themselves in shaping the future of their country. All over the world, it is young people who are actually involving themselves in the struggle to eliminate injustice and unfairness. They are the ones who most quickly identify with the struggle and the necessity to eliminate injustice.

We need to give special attention to the voice of the youth in this year’s elections. The participation of our youth in this year’s elections starts with them registering as voters and encouraging each other to do the same. It is a plain fact that nobody can use his right to vote unless he gets registered as a voter.

Thus, the primary exercise of every citizen in general and the prime role of the youth in particular should start from registration to vote. Thus, every youth should ask himself or herself if he or she is registered to vote.

And the most important role of every youth in the election process is to rationally give his voice to the political party or individual candidate of his choice. In this stage, the youth should stop and critically analyse why he needs to give his voice to that political party.

Moreover, the youth should be very mindful that a single act of negligence could lead to a dire socio-political consequence in the country.

Hence, the youth should properly use his or her intellectual capacity and his or her rational mind to precisely evaluate the would-be results of his or her decisions. And he or she should look deep into the future.

Every step of his or her verdict should contribute to or should never hamper the establishment of a more fair, just and humane society.

All eligible youths should exercise their democratic right by participating in the voting process. Truly, “your vote is your voice.”

We call upon our youths to struggle against any form or content of violence in relation to this year’s elections in order to promote the democratic process that the nation strongly strives to make a real culture of Zambians.

The youths need to promote the democratic endeavours of the entire election by ensuring citizens' equal access and opportunity to vote in a secure and peaceful political environment. In doing so, the youths have to play two prominent roles.

In the first place, they should never be involved in any form of illegal practices throughout the entire election process. That is, they should stay away from any violence while at the same time actively participating to ensure a democratic electoral process.

And secondly, they need to struggle against those cliques who sow bitter seeds of intolerance, chaos and public unrest before, during and after elections.

Experience shows that there are some irresponsible politicians who want power at all costs regardless of the wishes of the people. Normally, such politicians use countless pretexts to meet their unlimited political needs.

Furthermore, they use the youths as a decisive instrument by inciting tremendous unfounded allegations. Hence, the youths need to be very conscious of every activity of such politicians.

They should consciously monitor the democratic nature of the election and call for adequate measures whenever the rule of law is violated for whatever reasons. In doing so, they should never collaborate with certain disruptive elements, spoilers and opportunists of all hues.

The united efforts of our youths in this year’s elections would definitely unlock a notable epoch of democracy in our country so long they properly handle this process.

This is the question that our youths need to address in order to meet the contemporary demands of their country. This is the historic responsibility of our youths in order to emancipate the nation from its abject poverty and enhance the political, social and economic development of our people.

This is also the primary duty of our youths which they have to cultivate and consciously keep in order to bring about lasting peace and order which in turn enables us to close all possible doors of political intolerance and violence.

If all our youths properly play their respective roles, particularly in this year’s elections, we believe that our country will be on a straight path to the establishment of a more just, fair and humane society.

It is clear that our youths are often pawns in a larger political game, fighting on behalf of their political godfathers. However, when they get into office, these young people are forgotten until their services are needed during the next election.

As we approach this year’s elections, we must express concern regarding the frequent instances of intolerance, intimidation and lust for power in which our youths participate.

Campaigns must be carried out in a peaceful and honest way, devoid of any violence and slander of other opponents. All our youths must be guided by the truth, integrity and justice in their participation in this year’s elections.

It is necessary to remind all our youths that the politics and the campaigns that they engage in are for the good of the people and the country, and not for the political survival of any individual or party.

This being the case, in casting their votes, they should never be swayed by personal profit, tribal bias but solely by the consideration of which of the conflicting issues or candidates is better for the nation.

They should scrutinise the people who wish to represent them and select their candidate strictly according to the good they think they can do. The interest of political parties should be kept subordinate to the public good.

Our youths should be reminded that verbal violence and physical violence during the pre-election campaign are an affront against the rights of voters and the rights of the electoral candidates.

Ours should be a nation where we may freely choose who will represent us, where we may now review the performance of our present representatives, weigh them in the balance of truth, justice and unselfish service, and, if we find them wanting, reject them and elect others in their place; that is the inalienable right of our youths and of all our people.

Our youths should be made to realise that good elections require their intelligent and responsible participation. We therefore encourage them to get themselves informed of the manifestos from the various political parties. Such manifestos are supposed to have the programme of action that the parties propose to follow in order to serve the good of all our people.

A sound manifesto should articulate achievable programmes that will enhance the development of our country and our own wellbeing. Hence, our youths should be able to decide to vote for the party that has a programme they see as the best for our country and our people.

This year’s electoral process will provide all our youths and all our people with a unique opportunity to show their political maturity and their sincere aspiration for peace and harmony anchored in justice. And as we have stated before, to have peaceful, free and fair elections, certain conditions have to prevail in our country and in the hearts of our youths and all our people.

There ought to be a conducive atmosphere. Our youths have to conduct themselves in a manner that does not put others at an unfair disadvantage.
We therefore urge all our youths to ensure that political parties keep to pertinent issues, for example, service to the poor, social welfare, agricultural issues or economic recovery, during their campaigns.

Those who campaign outside these issues – politicians only interested in insulting their opponents – are not promoting peaceful elections and should be denounced, repudiated and not voted for by our youths. Our youths should demand that all political parties publicly denounce violence of any sort.

We urge our youths to reject violence in the strongest terms. They should respect truth and their political opponents. They should learn to be tolerant with people who have different political opinions.

We urge our youths to use their votes for the good of Zambia, as opposed to the good of a particular party or individual.

We also urge them to vote for candidates who have proved themselves accountable to the electorate. We urge them to vote for candidates who have proved to be courageous in defending truth and justice for all, who are completely honest in fulfilling public and private responsibilities.

Again, we remind our youths that voting is not only their right, but rather their duty.

If they withhold their votes, Zambians run the risk of getting into public office people who have no national interest at heart and who are going to jeopardise their future.

There are about two weeks remaining before the voter registration exercise closes. We therefore urge you to go and register now so that you can vote for the right persons in this year’s elections.

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