The Anti-Voter Apathy Project (AVAP) says it has embarked on a programme of enhancing citizen’s participation in democracy and good governance as a way of fighting voter apathy.
Speaking to ZANIS in an interview, AVAP Director Richwell Mulwani said community participation in governance was a crucial element in fighting poor voter participation in elections.
Mr Mulwani said a lot of citizens had lost interest in elections because political leaders have done very little to engage the electorate in the country’s governance process once elected.
“Accountability of leaders is crucial, especially for councillors and members of parliament because as leaders, they have to ensure that they engage the electorate on the ground because in Parliament you will find that MPs talk without consulting the people,” he said.
He cited the administration of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) as one area where Councillors and Members of Parliament (MPs) embark on projects without the involvement of the community.
Mr Mulwani said political parties and politicians need to improve communication and accountability to the people on the ground because they are the voters.
He said AVAP is also working with the Anti- Corruption Commission (ACC) to promote transparency in the distribution of inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
Mr Mulwani said AVAP is taking a holistic approach in fighting voter apathy in order to make citizens interested to participate in the 2016 general elections.
He said there is need for politicians to win back the confidence of voters by engaging members of the community in explaining what is being done to improve people’s well being.
“Dialogue needs to be enhanced by promoting communication with the electorate on the ground because people don’t understand what the leaders they voted for are doing,” he said.
Mr Mulwani said voter apathy will only be fought well if ordinary citizens begin to see the benefit of voting for their leaders.
He said AVAP will strive to bridge the gap that exists between government and the people and political parties.
Mr Mulwani said AVAP will continue to facilitate community engagement in decision making as a well of fighting voter apathy.