HARARE – Efforts by Zanu PF youths linked to embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to block the controversial youth league “million-man” march are gathering pace with posters discouraging people from attending being splashed on social media.
Following an announcement by the youths led by former Mashonaland Central chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu that he together with others would mobilise people not to attend the march, posters inscribed “I say Yes to my President and No the wasteful million-man march. It has no meaning at all.
My President is safe and happy. Instead, use the ten million dollars to empower me” were being sent to Zanu PF supporters on WhatsApp and Facebook since yesterday.
On Tuesday, Tsenengamu also appealed “to my fellow comrades that we collectively launch the Boycott the March Campaign”.
He argued that President Robert Mugabe, in whose solidarity the march was ostensibly being held, was not under threat from anyone.
“2018 polls are around the corner, does our president need this march or he needs more supporters to be mobilised into the party to add to the million plus votes he got in 2013?”
“Personally, and in my individual capacity as a patriotic youth of both Zanu PF and Zimbabwe, I am going to mobilise youths against this march. I mean my word. Someone has to stop this madness or we will stop it by ourselves.”
The youths’ declaration raised fears that the demonstration which the Zanu PF youth league insists is in support of Mugabe while Mnangagwa’s allies believe is targeted at the Midlands godfather, could turn bloody.
The league’s deputy national secretary Kudzanai Chipanga attributed the posters to “attention-seeking youths who were fired from the party” and are “bitter that we threw them out…”
“They were being misled by some war veterans such as (Douglas) Mahiya who have since realised that there is only one centre of power in the party who is (president Robert) Mugabe and now want to be associated with our march.
“We have been warning youths that they can follow Mahiya and company at their own risk because these (Christopher Mutsvangwa- led war veterans) are people who cannot lead themselves.
“They actually need to be given direction by the party and now because of their ignorance of how the party operates, they have dumped the people they have been misleading,” Chipanga said yesterday.
Mutsvangwa’s war veterans who are aligned to the embattled Mnangagwa have been threatening to boycott the million-man march saying they suspected it was meant to divide the party as its terms of reference were not made clear to them.
Mahiya, who is spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association faction backing Mnangagwa’s ambitions to succeed Mugabe, told Daily News recently that the march scheduled for May 25 was unnecessary.
“The march is not going to bring food on the table, it is not going to mobilise people to support the party. It is not going to make a contribution in as far as the resuscitation of industries is concerned,” Mahiya said.
“Isu takatoneta nekufamba tichibva kuMozambique tisu takauya napresident netsoka saka regai vanoda kuonekwa vaite. (We are already tired, having walked all the way from Mozambique on foot together with Mugabe, let those who want to be seen to be doing something go) so we are not going to attend their march”.
He added that solidarity with Mugabe was not enough when the majority of Zimbabweans were wallowing in abject poverty.
The ex-combatants called on the Zanu PF youth league to rather “look for methods to take the economy forward not marching”.
But Chipanga said the war veterans had since indicated that they are willing to take part in the march that has since been endorsed by the governing party’s women’s league.
“The danger of making pronouncements on things you are not sure about is that you end up embarrassing yourself. All along they have been saying all sorts of negative things about the march but now they are saying they will attend.
“They should have known a long time ago that they do not decide anything, they follow the party,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chipanga said preparations for the march were going on smoothly with the youth league heading to Midlands province to address a mobilisation rally at the Gweru Convention Centre tomorrow.