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Eyebrows Raised as Zimbabwe MDC Formation Launches Politics School

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Youth Initiative for Democracy Director Sydney Chisi said political parties have a right to educate youths on their thinking and methods so long as such training does not promote anti-democratic notions.

The smaller of Zimbabwe's two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change on Friday was to launch a school of politics for young party members, leading some to voice concern that the former opposition party was going down a pathway similar to that taken by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF in indoctrinating young Zimbabweans.

The MDC formation led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said the training sessions in the party's Bulawayo offices are intended to educate young activists on Zimbabwean history and the development of the former opposition party, which split in 2005. The larger MDC formation is led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Ncube MDC officials said the curriculum is designed to teach a new way of politics that breaks with the ZANU-PF dominated politics of the past 30 years. The party intends to eventually offer such classes in MDC provincial offices across the country.

Some observers said the MDC school of politics at first glance resembles the model of the ZANU-PF-controlled Border Gezi National Youth Service training centers.

But Ncube MDC formation spokesman Nhlanhla Dube told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that this is not so as the MDC school will instruct on various political philosophies.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo says the MDC is welcome to train its youth - but warned against launching a program designed to educate dissidents.

Responding to MDC criticism of the National Youth Service training centers, he said they are open to all Zimbabwean youths, not only those loyal to ZANU-PF.

Commenting on the MDC school plan, Youth Initiative for Democracy Director Sydney Chisi said political parties have a right to educate youths on their thinking and methods so long as such training does not promote anti-democratic notions.

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