Friday, 23 August 2013

First time voter: A personal experience

The first time for everything is always a memorable experience. Most female students around the country cast their votes for the first time in the 31st of July this year. Female students have described the experience as extremely amazing.

Here is how Mildred Chamboko, a first time voter female student voter describes the experience:

As I woke up in the in the wee hours of the morning of the 31st of July, I could feel that it was a defining moment in my life. I am usually very lazy to get out of bed especially if it’s cold, but on that day, I woke up at exactly 5 am.

Because I was so eager to do it for the first time, I shrugged off the cold weather, brushed my teeth, grabbed my Identity Card and registration slip and together with my brother, who was also a first timer, went out to exercise our right.

I did not even eat my breakfast because I wanted to be the first person to cast a vote at Warren Park Primary School.  To my surprise, over a hundred people were already standing in the queue! We decided to go and check the other polling station which was at Warren Park 1 High School. The queue was much better and we decided to join it.

Although at first the queue was moving at a tortoise pace, we waited patiently for our turn. I witnessed some “special citizens” such as the elderly and pregnant women, mothers who had brought their and the disabled being made to jump the queue, but I still waited tolerantly.

I then decided to go back home for a while and eat my breakfast because my stomach was now grumbling yet there were still about seventy people in front of me. I was constantly communicating with my brother to find out how close we now were because I wanted to make sure I did not miss my first time.

I then went back to the polling station, and as I entered the classroom where people were voting, I was asked for my ID and registration slip for back up. They check my finger to see if I had not voted anywhere else.

 All this time my heart was pounding heavily because I was thinking: What is my name is not found in the voters ‘roll and what if there is an error in on the registration slip, what if I will not be able to vote?

I let out a big sigh of relief when my name was found on the voter’s roll. I was then given three ballot papers, I felt excited that I was going to cast my vote. I then dipped my little pinkie finger into the pink ink, and went behind the ballot box.

I never felt so important in my whole life as I put an “X” on my favourite candidates. It was a moment of glory and I can’t help but recall it over and over again. When I was done, I folded the papers and put them in the appropriate boxes. As I went out of the classroom I felt like I could fly with pride. I had finally exercised my right as a citizen. Thanks to Female Students Network for they encouraged not me only but hundred other female students to vote. It was a magnificent experience and it felt so good. It is also a wonderful thought that my vote was counted. ***********************

Meanwhile other female students who also voted in the recent elections also described the experience as marvellous.

“My first time was so good. I felt like I was special. Standing in that little box all by self and putting in X on my favourite candidate was an out of this world experience. I really felt I like an important citizen exercising her right, “said Buhle Mambo, a second year Development studies student at the Midlands State University.

Another female student Olivia Moyo from Great Zimbabwe University said” I was just thrilled to have to be part of the voting process. I felt really good because you know you have the power to shape your destiny by voting for the person you think will provide solutions for the country. I don’t know why I did not register to vote in 2008. It was an awesome experience.”




Thursday, 1 August 2013

Female students eager to cast their vote

The 31st of July is the D-day for many female student virgin voters.  Most female students registered in the ended mobile registration exercise and are enthusiastic to cast their vote.

For 27 year old Isabel Phiri* growing up in a relatively harsh environment where she had to be labelled a “brandaya”, a term for people who are of the Malawian origin, she had to face the reality that indeed she was not considered a Zimbabwean.

 In 2008 when she tried to cast her ballot at the age of 22, Isabel tried to cast her first vote but alas, the screaming letters written “alien” on her identification certificate was her draw back

She was told that she could not exercise her right to vote simply because her parents were foreigners.

Five years down the line, Isabel was given a new lease of life when Zimbabwe ushered in the new constitution.

Not only is Isabel a born free but also an alien allowed to make a decision in the political dispensation, thanks to the new supreme law of the land. She only had to fill an affidavit and was allowed to register as a voter.

A female student at Lupane State University said she tried to register in 2008 as a voter at the age of 23, but was frustrated by the process of proof of residence and hence failed to register.

This time around, she is determined to exercise her right to vote since she is now a registered voter and to make a change in her life by voting for the party of her choice.

Another female student at Africa University said she was motivated by the desire to bring in the change she wants as a young woman.

“I was keen to go and register this time because I want to be able to shape my future by choosing people who can make a change in my life. I also believe that as young women we should all go and vote to decide our future. I feel excited that I exercised my right and my vote will count in building up a great nation,” she said.

This year youth are itching to make their voices count in the upcoming elections. According to a survey done by Mass Public Opinion Institute,

A total of at least one hundred and thirty female students have registered to vote in the upcoming harmonised elections, with the encouragement of FSN.
* not her real name.