As political tension builds up ahead of the May 21, 2019 polls, youths in Chiradzulu have been urged to avoid political violence and to vote for women candidates.
The plea was made amid concerns of political violence looming in the district, allegedly perpetrated by youths.
Recently, female aspirants, complained over intimidation and castigation by some youths targeting them, as allegedly masterminded by their party leaders.
According to the women they have been insulted by youths when conducting their meetings in various areas across the district.
But speaking during an interface with youths on elections in Chiradzulu North and East constituencies on Thursday, District Facilitator for Centre for Alternatives for Victimised Women and Children (CAVWOC), John Sumani, noted that time for using youths as perpetrators of violence is long gone, saying this is the time for youth empowerment.
He said: “You are in majority, therefore use that advantage to the development of the nation. We all know that many of you (youths) registered in the voters roll, so we expect you to vote for women in order to achieve 50:50 women representation in political positions.”
Sumani further emphasized on the need for youths to denounce political violence at all costs to their leaders, for a violence-free political environment.
In his remarks, Chiradzulu District Youth Officer, Peter Beni, advised the youths to vote in their large numbers adding they should only vote for those leaders who are development-conscious.
“Remember that it is your right and responsibility to vote. So keep safe your voter certificates and elect responsible leaders who will develop your lives through life-changing programmes,” he said.
A Police Officer, Tadala Msonkho, who was also present at the function, warned the youths against abusing women aspirants, as that is an offence.
Msonkho hinted that the country’s Constitution provides for rights to association and practicing politics, so there shouldn’t be anyone abusing women for showing interest in politics.
On this note, she said: “Let us all support our women candidates by giving them space to conduct rallies in peace. Don’t harass them because we will not hesitate to arrest you”.
The two meetings drew officials from the Social Welfare, Youth and the Police.
Over 10 women are contesting as MPs and Councillors in the five constituencies and 10 wards respectively in the district.