Registrar General’s office shreds IDs of youths registering to vote

Several Bulawayo youths who wanted to register to vote for the first time had their national identity documents and proof of residence torn to shreds by staff at the Registrar General’s office in Bulawayo on Friday.

The youths had been encouraged to reject violence and participate in democratic processes, under a programme run by Youth Initiative for Development Zimbabwe (YIDEZ). The group’s aim is to get as many youths as possible on the voters' roll.

But according to YIDEZ executive director Sydney Chisi, the youths were interrogated and abused by staff at the office in Bulawayo’s central business district. They had been sent to the CBD from the Nketa office, where they initially intended to register.

“These young people were concerned only with bread and butter issues and we had convinced them that the only way to get what they want is by participating in democratic alternatives. We salute them because they did not choose the violent option to get it,” Chisi told SW Radio Africa on Friday.

Describing the incident as “a very sad chapter in Zimbabwean history”, Chisi said if they had chosen violence, the youth would have lost because ZANU PF has “the machinery to force you to violence then crush you”.

The youth activist said he believes what happened in Bulawayo is an extension of ZANU PF’s plan to shrink the democratic space and limit the activities of civil society, ahead of the next election.

SW Radio Africa News

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