Namatai Kwekweza Wins Inaugural Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize
Zimbabwean pro-democracy activist Namatai Kwekweza has won the inaugural Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize.
The 25-year-old development enthusiast founded and registered WELEAD Trust when she was (18) eighteen years old.
The Kofi Annan NextGen Democracy Prize was launched by the Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) and the Democracy and Culture Foundation (DCF).
It is awarded to a young leader aged between 18 and 30 and presented each year at the Athens Democracy Forum.
According to the Kofi Annan Foundation website, the aim is to recognise exceptional leadership and inspire more young people to commit to the advancement of democracy.
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The winner receives an award of US$10 000 and a one-year mentorship with a recognised democracy expert.
On Thursday, 06 July, the Athens Democracy Forum announced that Kwekweza was the winner of the inaugural NextGen Democracy Prize. It said:
Together with the Kofi Annan Foundation, we’re very happy to announce that Namatai Kwekweza is the winner of the inaugural NextGen Democracy Prize.
Founder and Director of WELEAD Trust, Namatai is a national activist from Zimbabwe who fearlessly mobilizes young people to protect democracy and the rule of law.
Despite persecution, her influence extends regionally and internationally. Through WELEAD Trust, she promotes youth participation, leadership, and advocacy, and is recognized for her passion, intelligence, and commitment.
We would like to congratulate and thank all nominees and all finalists. As we reflect on this first year of the prize, it was heartwarming to see so many incredible and powerful initiatives led by amazing young leaders throughout the world.
The NextGen Democracy Prize, launched by the Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) and the Democracy and Culture Foundation, is awarded to a young leader aged between 18 and 30 and will be presented each year at the Athens Democracy Forum.
The award recognises exceptional leadership, and its aim is to inspire more young people to commit to the advancement of democracy.
Namatai was arrested on 19 June 2020 during a protest against public hearings for Constitutional Amendment No. 2 Bill.
Allegations were that on 19 June 2020 around 3 PM Kwekweza and Esther Vongai Zimudzi went to New Government Complex (now Mgandane Dlodlo Building), corner Central Avenue and Fourth Street (now Simon Muzenda Street) in Harare, intending to hand over a petition to Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Ziyambi Ziyambi in which they expressed their disagreement with the Constitution Amendment No. 2 Bill public hearings held nationwide.
She was released on ZWL$3 000 bail on 22 June 2020.
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