YOUTH Forum director, Avoid Masiraha has called on NGOs operating in Zimbabwe to consider the inclusion of political violence in their programs amid surging involvement of youths in such issues.
The remarks come against a background where youths were identified as the key perpetrators of violence ahead of the just ended March 26 by-elections.
Amid the developments Masiraha said civil society has a critical role to play in ensuring peace and tolerance before, during and after elections.
“There is a serious need to engage youths across political parties and discuss these issues of violence and manipulation. Such forums will help to build tolerance and thereby encourage peace. It is unfortunate that youths continue to be manipulated to engage in acts of violence.
“This is a call for civil society to act and create platforms aimed at encouraging peace and tolerance. Civil society has a critical role to play in encouraging CSOs challenged to engage youths on political violence peaceful elections that will lead to credible outcomes,” said Masiraha.
Youth Alliance for Democracy Director, Tichaona Masiyambiri echoed the same sentiments saying the electoral code of conduct should be adequately enforced to punish perpetrators of violence.
“This is an unfortunate culture that has charac ter i zed past success ive elections in Zimbabwe and it is unfortunate that the youths are being used by politicians to engage in violence.
It is necessary to ensure we make efforts towards discouraging violence and reach out to stakeholders to ensure we deal with political violence and promote tolerance.
“Political leaders must show maturity and refrain from perpetrating violence. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has a role to play in enforcing the electoral code of conduct to ensure people behind violence are punished for their acts,” said Masiyambiri.