July 27, 2018

2018 Zimbabwe Harmonized Elections

Zimbabweans will be heading to the polls on Monday, July 30, to vote for a new president. For the first time since Zimbabwe became independent from British rule, former president Robert Mugabe will not be on the ballot. After ruling for 37 years, Mugabe was ousted in November when the military took control of the country. Now 23 candidates are running to become the next president. Four women are running as Zimbabwe’s first female presidential candidates. While there is a lot of hope for change in this election, there are also concerns about violence against female candidates.

Emotional, psychological and physical intimidation makes it difficult for women to actively engage and participate in presidential and parliamentary elections. Despite women making up 54% of Zimbabwe’s registered voters, intimidation, lack of resources, and sexual violence prevent many women from participating in their local elections.

The women who are currently running have had derogatory slurs hurled at them, and rumors of extra marital affairs are circulating in an attempt to shame and silence them. However, they have received support from citizens in Zimbabwe as well as from foreign observers of the election. The women running in this election have made it very clear that they don’t intend to quit and are seeing young women coming out to have their voices heard.

Climate Change Contributing to Global Wildfires

Wildfires have been ravaging many places around the world due to a heatwave this summer. California has been plagued by continuous wildfires that rage on for days before they can be contained. Most recently, wildfires in seaside towns near Athens, Greece, have killed at least 80 people and injured more than 180. First responders expect to find more casualties as they look through burned-out homes and other wreckage.

Wildfires have even sprung up within the Arctic circle, in countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland. While some point to arsonists as the main culprits, scientists also believe that global warming has a role to play in the uptick of wildfires around the world. Europe has been going through an intense heatwave this summer with some cities seeing their highest temperatures in decades. Climate scientists expect more wildfires and extreme weather as global warming progresses. Other health concerns, such as heat strokes, have also been reported.

Youth Voter Registration Rising in the U.S.

Youth voter registration in the U.S. has been on the rise in recent months, particularly in Florida and Pennsylvania which has seen the highest growth. In Florida, youth registration has gone up 41% and has been a response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Fla., that took place in February. The shooting prompted a surge in student protests and activism that saw many students walk out of class to protest gun violence and advocate for stricter gun laws.

In Pennsylvania, young voters went from 45% of new voters to 61% after the Parkland shooting. Student activists from Marjory Stoneman have been traveling around the country urging young people to register to vote. Political analysts forecast that this surge in young voter registrations will play a big role in the midterm elections in November. Young people around the country are becoming more civically engaged, and the rise in youth voter registration is only the beginning.