One primary reason why young people are cynical or even repulsed at the thought of politics is because of its mental turn off.
By Roy Muroyi
Watching your entire future being plundered by some old out-of-touch politicians, while you are confined to the back bench.
The youth has, for long, watched as their societies get drained of their quintessence, basic human rights trampled underfoot and institutions undermined by the Zanu PF regime.
In the July 2018 general elections, the youth overwhelmingly participated.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission statistics showed that 60% of the registered voters in Zimbabwe are the youth, meaning the youth of Zimbabwe are setting up a new standard for themselves.
Intrigue, insiders and drama describe this year’s Student Representative Council (SRC) elections all across the country.
The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) under the leadership Archibald Madida has concretely put the nail to the coffin on the Zanu PF affiliate Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Union (Zicosu).
In a campaign aimed at emancipating the student populace and improving the welfare of students, they have managed a clean sweep in all the Students’ Representative Council elections at the National University of Science and Technology, Chinhoyi University of Technology and more recently, the University of Zimbabwe.
The idea that Zimbabwean students do not want to get involved in politics doesn’t line up with the wider national political trend.
The level of participation by students in the SRC elections was also a very clear indication that the youth are in dire need of change — change in the entire national discourse.
What is more dazzling about the elections was the tenacity, desire and will to participate in the political turf by students all across Zimbabwe.
The elections saw student leaders such as Tapiwa Chiriga, Netsai Marova, Tafadzwa Chabata and many more making an effort to move around different campuses in solidarity with their comrades that were gunning for office.
Youth leaders from the MDC Alliance, such as national youth chairperson Happymore Chidziva, were also there to support their Zinasu comrades.
This clearly marks the hallmark of the evolution of Zinasu and youth participation in politics.
Student democracy is very vital to any society, both as a symbol of students being involved in democracy and as a process of exacting change in students’ associations and universities.
Universities and colleges in Zimbabwe, over the years, have been the cooking pot of future leaders and political geniuses.
It is through student politics that the MDC was able to rise and become one of the biggest political parties in Africa.
Student unions are important as they act as mediators between the school’s administration and the student population.
It is imperative to also understand that student unions have got the power to shape national policies and improve the welfare of students.
While student associations’ power may be limited, it does show students’ priorities and can push in the direction that students want national policy to go.
Often, when people talk about student politics, the one big name that quickly comes to mind is that of Learnmore “Judah” Jongwe.
Jongwe represented a new genre of budding politicians in Africa.
Some of them include the likes of MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, political and social commentator Takura Zhangazha, Pedzisayi Ruhanya, Daniel Molokele and Job Sikhala.
As Zinasu president, Jongwe contributed immensely to the rise of student politics in Zimbabwe.
Zinasu has, over the years, been marred with infightings that made their role in the Zimbabwean political landscape unnoticeable.
However, the union has stood the test of time, from Zanu PF infiltration, persecution of their leaders as well as targeted violence on their members.
Zanu PF has also been accused of tempering with the SRC results in the previous elections.
This year’s elections have not been different. Incidences of rigging were reported by the Zinasu secretary-general Ashlegh Pfunye at the University of Zimbabwe.
The Midlands State University is next, with the Zinasu Midlands chair Tapiwa Chiriga promising nothing short of victory for their Zinasu presidential candidate Jacob Lawrence and team.
Midlands State University and Great Zimbabwe University have, over the years, been Zicosu strongholds.
A more progressive move by the youths to take charge of their destiny is here.
It is imperative for the youth of Zimbabwe in colleges and universities to realise how significant student politics is and should always participate.