Youth Interface Rallies….Young People not Pawns: Stop It

The ongoing provincial Youth Interface rallies currently being held by President Mugabe ahead of the 2018 harmonized election are a mere platform to take youths for granted by the ZANU PF party and a waste of the meager national resources.

To borrow a dictum from L.C.B Seaman (1955), Mugabe and his cabal are a bunch of hucksters battering the happiness of millions of Zimbabwean youths with a scented smile. The role of youths has generally been to mobilize for the eight rallies held so far, praising and worshiping the first family as well as mocking the dissenting voices in the party on their behalf.

Media and civic society organizations’ reports revealed that the youths played a major role in frog marching residents from different areas to attend the Youth Interface rallies by President Mugabe. Again the youths ensured the posters are on strategic positions whilst their toyi-toyi, songs and slogans by the youths provided entertainment for rally attendees. Kudzanai Chipanga, the ZANU PF Youth League Secretary clearly emphasized the sanctity of President Mugabe and that anyone else within and outside the party does not matter. This culture of using youths as objects of sustaining the will of power for their elderly counterparts in political parties is a norm. This also applies in all other institutions.

The above mentioned Dear Leader Syndrome intoxicates the youths, such that when they are praised or get a hand shake from the party leader, they feel like they are candidates for heaven. Chipanga has become a defacto political commissar of ZANU PF party due to his loyalty shown through massive mobilization and worshipping of the first family whenever he grabs the microphone. He is literally giving the direction to be taken by the party for instance; Mugabe’s birthday is now a national holiday at his insistence during the ongoing interface rallies.

He even undressed Vice President Mnangagwa that he is only a small boy (babamunini) in the party whilst President Mugabe is the real deal (Mudhara).Equally noticeable is the unholy alliance between the Women’s League (Dr Grace Mugabe, the first lady) in the ongoing rallies and the Youth League as envisaged by one of the most adored slogans at these rallies:Pana mai ndipo pane mwana (where there is a mother ,is where the child is) depicting the inextricability of these two leagues which are certainly the key pillars of the party at the moment. As such Dr Mugabe’s rivals “genetically” become the youth’s enemy. One of my humorous friends once asked what the (ZANU PF) youths could do if Grace had a boyfriend, they would probably say, “he is ours too kkkkkkkkk.”

This alliance is hugely a platform for Chipanga and top youth leaders to reap the rewards of effectively licking the first family. The improved skin textures, expanded size of tummies and a plethora of properties owned by the top leadership of the Youth league including Kudzanai Chipanga, Hamandishe and Tongai Kasukuwere are a testimony of how licking has become a political economy for these elite youths. In the name of party ideology the few who have strategically lined up their pockets for the financial gains accrued through the first family are hoodwinking all the youths possible to believe in the name of Mugabe, the first lady and Holy Spirit.

The generality of youths have the following benefits free ride in hired bus to the venue, a portion of sadza cooked in drums and drinks/alcohol. The downward spiral theory is also taking its tow on youths especially in rural areas, where there is an impression that the majority supports the ruling party due to bumper crowds at rallies.

Some barefooted youths would have been bused from two provinces away from the venue. Despite evidence that their cracked feet have no imagination of what a shoe feels like, will be the loudest in praising the first family and denigrating, any dissenting voices from within and outside.

The overall issues of discussion include buttressing the one centre of power concept in the ruling party and attacking anyone who has a different perception. Critical issues to do with the youths such as youth integration and empowerment, education, HIV/AIDS awareness are just peripheral and as raised within the speeches of the main speakers (President Mugabe and his wife.) The greater chunk of the speeches is made of self glorification of the first family whilst belittling anyone with ambitions to the throne. Instead of the youths to be educated to respect their elders, it seems they are getting negative education on hate/hurt speech.

With the above background, one can safely conclude who is benefitting from the so-called Youth Interface rallies and at whose expense. It’s also a multi-million dollar question as to who is funding these flamboyant rallies, when the nation is currently reeling under serious financial crisis. How appropriate is it to regard these rallies as national events screened on the sole national television? How reliable are these rallies as sources of information for the youths? What interventions can be made the pro-democracy movement to inculcate the right culture amongst our youths? As stated earlier, this culture of using youths to further the interests of their counterparts is rife in almost all organizations. What could be the lasting solution to this rot? As I sign off I hope I have managed to invoke some form of spark to further debate on issues to do with the youths.

George Makoni is a human rights activist from Wedza and writes in his own capacity. He can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pictures Courtesy of The Herald

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