Some businesspeople in Masvingo claim that they are being forced by members of the Zanu PF Youth League to donate money for funding the so-called million-man-march set for Wednesday to show solidarity for 92 year-old President Robert Mugabe.
The youth say they want to show the world that there is only one center of power in Zanu PF, currently hit by factionalism with rival groups, one allegedly led by First Lady Grace Mugabe, fighting for the succession of the Zimbabwean leader who has ruled the country for 36 years.
Businesspeople, who spoke to Studio 7, said they were not amused about the Zanu PF youth, who have been moving around the city demanding donations in cash and kind, while threatening to take unspecified action against those that are not willing to part with their hard-earned money.
Mr. Leonard Jari is one of them. “Some ruling party youth have been moving around and came to us, forcing us to donate money to them so that they can go to Harare to stage their march. The problem came when we tried to explain to them that we do not have money as business is not viable these
days. They threatened us saying we are anti-Zanu PF and President Mugabe.
A local supermarket owner, who declined to be named, said he made the donation out of fear that he could be harmed by the Zanu PF Youth League members.
“Currently the economic hardships are facing everyone and our business are not viable. So when the youths come to us we don’t know elections are coming and we fear for our lives so when we donate we are not doing it from our hearts, it’s an indirect force to us, they know that things are not well. I am failing to get money for salaries but I had no option but to donate.”
Another businessman, who preferred to be identified only as Bla Gidza in fear of being victimized, said it was painful that they were being forced to fund the million-man-march for a person believed to be responsible for allegedly running down the country.
“As for me I am really surprised that these are the same people running down the economy and they want us to fund them, they do not care even if you support their party or not they just want our money. To fund Mr. Mugabe who is responsible for the economic meltdown is really disturbing but we have no option but to donate because we do not know what will happen to us if we refuse.”
Some of the businesspeople have been forced to pay up to $2,000 each for the million-man-march.
A local Youth League member of the ruling party, Talent Chivange, who is mobilizing youth for the event, claimed that Zanu PF is not forcing anyone to fork out varying amounts of money as donors were mostly President Mugabe’s sympathizers.
The money raised in Masvingo will be used for hiring buses to ferry youth to the million-man-march in Zimbabwe’s capital city being boycotted by a faction of the ruling party said to be led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and backed by war veterans of the 1970s.
Mnangagwa, like First Lady Grace Mugabe, are said to be harboring presidential ambitions, a claim they have repeatedly dismissed as wishful thinking.
Some Zimbabweans say the march is a waste of time in the southern African nation that is currently facing serious social, economic and political problems.