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Zimbabweans Cry Foul Over Mugabe Million Man March

  • Thomas Chiripasi
  • Gibbs Dube

FILE: President Mugabe inspecting a guard of honour in Harare at the National Sports Center.

FILE: President Mugabe inspecting a guard of honour in Harare at the National Sports Center.

Some youths are complaining that they are being forced by Zanu PF members to join a march in Harare on Wednesday in solidarity with President Robert Mugabe at a time when they do not have jobs.

Business operators also say they have been allegedly forced by the ruling party youth to close their shops and leave vending bays in honor of President Robert Mugabe.

This happens at a time when opposition parties are calling on the government to address economic and unemployment issues affecting the country.

Some Zanu PF members are complaining that they are being forced to be part of tomorrow’s “One Million Men March” being organized by the ruling party’s youth wing in solidarity with President Mugabe.

A Chitungwiza based Zanu PF activist, who requested to be identified only as Chamunorwa, said he is not happy that he and many others in his neighborhood were ordered by his party’s leadership to join other Zanu PF supporters in Harare’s streets to show support for Mr. Mugabe.

Other Zimbabweans, who are not members of the ruling party, also expressed the same sentiments. Elliot Munemo, who sells second-hand clothes at the popular Mupedzanhamo market, said some Zanu PF youth ordered all traders to close their businesses tomorrow and join the march.

Leorcadia Nhachi, who sells various items in the central business district, said a group of Zanu PF youth, wearing regalia emblazoned with President Mugabe’s picture raising a clenched fist, ordered all vendors to leave their wares at home tomorrow and participate in the much publicized event.

But Nhachi said she would not be part of the march.

“That’s impossible, I will not be part of that march. Marching in the streets does not bring food to my table; I have kids to feed. Instead of calling for such a march, they should tell us where the $15 billion is. They must fix the economy as a matter of urgency instead of forcing us to gather something that does not bring food to our tables.”

President announced recently that Zimbabwe lost at least $15 billion in diamond proceeds due to massive leakages in Manicaland’s Chiadzwa diamond fields. This has angered Zimbabwean who are demanding a full-scale investigation into the matter and jobs that were promised by Mr. Mugabe’s party before the 2013 general elections.

Harare resident, Densford Zindoga, said most youths do not have jobs, adding that it would be foolhardy for them to march in solidarity with President Mugabe who has been employed for the last 36 years.

Zindoga said he does not want to be dragged into Zanu PF’s factionalism by attending tomorrow’s march.

Two factions – one allegedly led by First Lady Grace Mugabe and another by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa – are said to be fighting for the succession of the president.

For his part, President Mugabe has told the world that he would not leave office for as long as he remained sane or for as long Zimbabweans continue to re-elect him.

Secretary for policy and research in the MDCT's youth wing, Caston Matewu, said that instead of Zanu PF calling on youths to march in solidarity with a 92 year-old leader, the government should fix the economy to ensure that all youths in the country are employed.

Studio 7 failed to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, who was not answering his mobile phone. But Kudzai Chipanga, secretary of the Zanu PF Youth League, who is organizing Wednesday’s march, told Studio 7 by phone that his party has a lot of supporters and has no reason to force anyone to attend Wednesday’s arguing that they already have the numbers.

Chipanga said they are expecting thousands of people from the country’s 10 provinces to attend the event and are likely to exceed the one million target. President Mugabe is expected to give a keynote address at the event.

Independent political commentator Dumisani Nkomo said the march was a waste of time and resources.