MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) national youth chairman Nelson Chamisa has blasted President Robert Mugabe for what he termed “exploitation of the youth for political expediency” by en
couraging them to use violence in Zanu PF’s election campaign.
Chamisa said Mugabe’s statements at a Zanu PF youth congress held at the University of Zimbabwe on Saturday appeared to advocate violence.
“The exploitation of Zimbabwe’s youths for the purposes of political expediency by Mugabe and Zanu PF is destroying our national fabric and sowing seeds of long-term instability,” Chamisa said in a statement this week.
“In Harare last Saturday Mugabe illustrated once again his willingness to exploit the desperation and vulnerability of the nation’s youths.”
Addressing a crowd of about 2 000 youths, Mugabe urged them to wage a “vigorous campaign” to win next year’s parliamentary election and warned that he would hold them “answerable for any defeat”.
Chamisa said: “In Zanu PF parlance, the term ‘vigorous campaign’ means a campaign of violence. Encouraging youths to engage in acts of violence has in recent years become a central tenet of Zanu PF election strategies.”
Chamisa also berated government’s creation of a militant youth wing under the guise of a National Youth Service.
“Through its violent rhetoric, intense propaganda and National Youth Training Service, Zanu PF is systematically brutalising the minds of the nation’s youths,” he said.
“They are deliberately subverting the youths’ understanding of society and the values on which it is based and creating a generation for whom violence is increasingly the norm.”
Chamisa said since the setting up of training camps in 2002, the youths had gained nothing.
“Due to the criminal failings of the current regime (the youths) are condemned to an existence characterised by grinding poverty, despondency, fear and intimidation,” he said.