Here at the National Youth Development Council (NYDC) we take youth leadership, youth governance and human rights very seriously. As the principal national institution responsible for the youth, it is our mission to promote inclusive youth participation in Zambia’s socioeconomic development. It is for this reason that the NYDC on 19th January, 2022 made a submission to the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights and Governance, of the National Assembly in Zambia. The precise topic of submission was ‘The Growing Trend of Electoral Violence – A Human Rights Concern’.
The NYDC delegation was led by the Council Secretary Mr. Musonda who was accompanied by the Head of the Programmes Department Mrs. Lubinda, and the Public Relations Officer Mr. Muwema. Suffice to mention that a Junior Officer from the Programmes Department was also availed the opportunity to be exposed to such a high level government interaction. This is what preparing the leaders of tomorrow is all about!
It was cardinal for the Council to make this submission because many observers and not just the NYDC have witnessed that it is the youth who are mostly used as tools of political violence especially during elections. Inevitably, electoral violence infringes on people’s human rights through negative outcomes which include:
- Societal Instability
- Breakdown of rule and order; and
- Injury or death.
The youth are Zambia’s greatest asset and their purpose thereof is to play a more meaningful role in the electoral process such as elections’ monitoring, participating as electoral officers or contesting for political office as Councilors, Mayors and Members of Parliament (MPs). The following are the primary recommendations on how to curb electoral violence, that were submitted to the Committee:
- Increased voter and civic education
- Stiffer sanctions to political violence offenders
- Increased funding to institutions that promote electoral peace
- Socio-economic empowerment of the youth so that they do not have to resort to electoral violence as a source of income.
The NYDC sends its gratitude to the National Assembly and the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights and Governance, for recognising and giving audience to the Council.