EDITORIAL COMMENT: Bulawayo must come to the party at Presidential Interface

(File pic) Youths at the Mat South Rally Interface

(File pic) Youths at the Mat South Rally Interface

THE date for the Bulawayo Presidential Youth Interface rally has been set for November 4 and the province has declared its readiness to host President Mugabe and the thousands of people that will converge on the city for the historic meeting.

Youths from the city and surrounding areas will have an opportunity to interact with the President and air their grievances most of which revolve around unemployment, access to housing and accommodation, economic opportunities in the mining and agricultural sectors and other pertinent issues. Being the ninth and penultimate rally, the Bulawayo Interface will attract a very big crowd given recent developments in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

An extraordinary congress has been slated for December and party faithfuls will be eager to know the modalities for the indaba and the state of preparedness of the various organs. At their previous Interface rallies which were well attended, the youths have incorporated all the organs of the party from the Women to the Main wing while affiliates such as war veterans, collaborators, detainees and restrictees have also been part of the proceedings.

From the huge crowds that have thronged various venues of the rallies, it is clear that Zanu-PF remains the only game in town with the opposition likely to suffer a huge defeat in the forthcoming polls due next year. The revolutionary party needs to maintain internal cohesion and unity as it heads for its special congress where it will formulate its strategy for comprehensively winning the elections and handing President Mugabe a clear and unambiguous mandate.

Internal ructions are to be expected in a monolithic and huge organisation such as Zanu-PF but these should play second fiddle to the bigger objective of consolidating the party’s dominance of Zimbabwe’s political arena and securing a strong legacy for its leader President Mugabe who remains the glue that holds the vanguard movement together. Bulawayo has therefore been presented with an opportunity to lead the way in uniting the party by organising a massive rally that will bring together all wings in solidarity with the youths.

The state of the party in the province is promising given that it holds six constituencies in the city — a feat that was last achieved at the turn of the millennium. There is a need to build on this achievement by supporting sitting Members of Parliament to ensure that they deliver on the electoral promises. A lot of noise was made about the Umvutshwa Housing Development project where an initial 7 000 youths were meant to benefit in the first phase while 150 000 more were set to get stands in the second phase.

Government needs to revisit this scheme and expedite it for the benefit of young people in critical need of accommodation. There are many mining claims lying idle on the outskirts of Bulawayo and these need to be utilised for the benefit of unemployed youths. The Command Agriculture programme should also incorporate youths in particular in Matabeleland where the Command Livestock programme will be concentrated. So as Zanu-PF prepares for its Bulawayo Interface, it should be cognisant of the issues affecting the youths and work towards addressing them.

The party also needs to nip factionalism in the bud and close ranks as it heads towards another election. President Mugabe has always called for discipline and unity among the rank and file of the party and the Bulawayo rally is a platform for cadres to show their leader that they have heeded his clarion call.
Bulawayo as the hosting province should present a united front while shunning divisions which have manifested themselves in ugly scenes of violence at its Davies Hall headquarters. We also agree with Zanu-PF Youth league Secretary Cde Kudzanai Chipanga that divisive elements who have been at the forefront of denigrating the First Family are not welcome at the Interface as they have clearly shown that they are not disciplined.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairman Mr Chris Mutsvangwa and his executive have been insulting the party’s leadership and the First Family and we feel their actions are abhorrent. Zanu-PF is a revolutionary movement whose ideals are steeped in the values and ethos of the liberation struggle where respect for the party leadership was sacrosanct.

By insulting the President, Mr Mutsvangwa and his group have shown total disregard for the maxim that politics leads the gun not vice versa. Zanu-PF needs disciplined war veterans who submit themselves to the authority of the party hierarchy not rogue elements who delight in mindless brawling and playing to the gallery.

It is time Mr Mutsvangwa and his executive returned to the fold by mending fences with their patron. They cannot do this by shouting from the terraces.

Article Source: The Chronicle