Youth should register to vote

Following an announcement by the Electoral Commission yesterday, the Voters Register Update exercise was extended to end on May 4, 2015. If all goes as projected, the register that is being updated will be the first in Uganda’s history to carry the highest number of young voters. It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of the people on the register will be between 18 and 40 years.

This is a significant portion of voters that can form a voting bloc that would be impossible to ignore. However, this bloc of the young vote can only be a force to be reckoned with if those under it have secured their Votability before May 5.

By securing Votability, I mean eligible Ugandan citizens of 18 years and above who did not register during the national ID registration exercise should have used this voter register update exercise to register to be on the voters register.

Likewise, those who wish to move to new voting locations than those they listed at the time of national ID registration should have filed their requests to do so those registered should have confirmed that their particulars appear on the voters’ register at the voting locations of their choice and they too should have visited the update centres to verify the voters’ register and corrected any errors that may appear in their particulars on the register.

I would like to specially implore the youth to use the extension to inspect the register andor register as voters for those who have not done so.

The reason why I am making this plea specifically to the young people is because, a majority of those who didn’t register during the national ID registration fall within the youth bracket. It is also important to point out that it is mostly the young people who have consistently shunned electoral processes in previous election cycles.

While we must all seriously confront the underlying issues that deter young people from enthusiastic participation in elections, the youth themselves have a key responsibility to be the beginning of the solution in this whole political matrix.

For the coming elections, generational, historical and demographic factors seem to be conspiring to place the burden of defining the next set of leaders in the hands of the youth. However, for the young people to effectively engage in shaping their destiny, it is critical that they play a very active, constructive and informative role in elections and politics in general.

Crispy Kaheru, Coordinator – Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral
Democracy in Uganda

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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