Young people in Archdiocese of Bulawayo encouraged to be active in civic processes

by Farai Chingombe and Tanaka Mrewa  

As the Catholic Church focuses on the young people this year, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, has reached out to young people in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo encouraging them to register to vote and participate in national electoral processes.

CCJP, whose mandate is to promote justice and peace guided by Gospel values, held a one-day workshop for leaders of the Archdiocese’s main youth bodies: the Catholic Young Adults Association (CYAA) and the Catholic Youth Association (CYA), at Isinga Young People’s Centre on Saturday 24th February 2014.

The workshop focused mainly on how young people should relate to one another in their various communities and also exercise their rights and duties as Zimbabwean citizens to register to vote and vote in forthcoming elections.

Addressing the young participants and parish youth advisors also attending the workshop, CCJP Project Director, Rev. Fr Christopher Ngwarai said there is need to eradicate voter apathy amongst the youth.

"Some of our young people are not well equipped with knowledge about the Biometric Voter's Registration. Few of them have registered to vote too. Hence we encourage them to embrace the current process, which represents a chance for young people to be heard and to positively contribute to the future of our country," he said.

Fr Ngwarai challenged young people to develop an interest in national issues, good governance and to understand the dynamics of how things are done if they are to contribute to the betterment of their future.

CCJP National Coordinator, Mr Paul Muchena highlighted that the commission felt it was really important to raise awareness to the young people of Bulawayo on the Pastoral Letter written by the Catholic Bishops in June 2017 titled Elections Peace and Development.

“We as CCJPZ are carrying out this programme in selected Dioceses but of course we have programmes running across the whole country. This particular programme to disseminate or popularize the Pastoral Letter.

Speaking on the overall success of the day, Mr Muchena was extremely pleased and captivated by the level of dialogue and understanding of the Pastoral Letter on Preparing for the Zimbabwe 2018 National Elections.

“I want to say I was very impressed with the level of understanding, the participation and involvement throughout the workshop. I think it’s a lesson to us that whatever programmes we have, it is best to start with the young people who we might take for granted or oversee.”

“They are a very important stakeholder in these issues and today they have shown a lot of enthusiasm and a great appreciation of relevant issues. I want to remind the young people that they are not the future, but rather they are actually the present and should take it seriously and responsibly to determine the future.”

The one-day event gave young Catholic leaders the opportunity to revisit and better understand the Pastoral Letter of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference on preparing for the Zimbabwe 2018 National Elections, which was published in June 2017.

Archbishop of Bulawayo Archdiocese (and ZCBC Secretary/Treasurer), Most Reverend Archbishop Alex Thomas applauded both the CCJP and young people for their good works within the Archdiocese.

He also encouraged young people to look for good qualities in their leaders when voting. Furthermore, he reminded all stakeholders of the event that Catholicism is not a part-time activity, but a universal and perpetual way of life.

"Faith is the most important aspect of our lives, the rest can follow. It is important to choose wisely our leaders – leaders who are God-fearing. We need to desist from violence and irresponsible behaviour. Our speech and actions should always complement our Catholicism,“ he said.

Bulawayo Archdiocese Spiritual Director for both the CYAA and the CYAA, Rev. Fr Johannes Maseko commended the good attendance by the young leaders, who are the influential people in their respective parishes.

Other stakeholders attending the event included Mrs Eunice Gamure, a ZEC Officer, who spoke to the young people and advisors about the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) process. She took time to answer questions from the youth, and encouraged those who have not registered to vote to do so.

Mrs Gamure ensured the participants that it is a safe and discrete registration process. She also emphasised on the need for peace, citing that Christians should always be peace ambassadors who will enable harmonized elections when the time comes.


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