Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tembo implores youths to reject ‘violent politicians’

Tembo implores youths to reject ‘violent politicians’
By David Chongo in Solwezi
Thu 21 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

BONNIE Tembo has urged youths to make a decisive vote against politicians who promote violence ahead of this year’s polls. In an interview in Solwezi, Tembo bemoaned the fact that Zambia did not have a vibrant youth movement that could dictate political change.

According to Tembo, despite being dominant players in most political parties, the youths have remained divided on important matters of political and economic revolution.

Tembo, who is also Anti-Voter Apathy Project executive director, said most political parties had succeeded in their campaign strategies based on the effectiveness of zealous youths.

But Tembo observed that the status quo in the country was not inspiring positive change as youths continued being used as tools of intimidation and violence.

“Youths are the deciding factor because they are unemployed, the economy has been harsh for them, they are bitter and they feel they should not be cheated. Youths are a daring force; they have the energy; they are zealous. Anything to do with change, youths are daring. But we don’t have a strong youth movement in this country,” he said.

“The youths themselves are divided. What we have are youth wings, security wings and militia groups which are illegal. So the youths are being diverted to somewhere else.”

And Tembo urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia to create a deliberate working relationship with councils whereby it could update its voters' register by removing the names of deceased people based on information from the local authorities.

He urged ECZ not to bother relatives of deceased registered voters to help with information on the latter’s demise, but create a parallel deregistration system in order to maintain a current voters roll.

“At the moment we are talking about fake numbers; we need a high level of accountability in the election process,” Tembo said.

And Tembo noted that the high number of registered voters recorded this year might not all be attributed to massive campaigns but it was an indication that people were not satisfied about something and wanted to use their vote to make a decision.

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