MASSIVE crowds have characterised President Mugabe’s first two interface meetings with the country’s youths, asserting the iconic revolutionary’s unparalleled popularity and connection with the masses.
In Marondera and Mutare, huge crowds running into thousands of people thronged Rudhaka and Sakubva stadia, sending an ominous warning to the opposition that the ruling Zanu-PF party means business. Cde Mugabe has already been endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate in next year’s harmonised elections and judging by his growing popularity, signs are he will breeze through the poll and vanquish his opponents.
The youths will be a critical constituency in next year’s elections and Zanu-PF is slowly endearing itself to the country’s young people by seeking to address their concerns. The huge crowds at the President’s rallies indicate that the party is still the only game in town as far as mass mobilisation is concerned and the mooted coalition of opposition parties could find it extremely hard to dislodge it.
Already there are murmurings of a power struggle within the envisaged coalition with National People’s Party leader Dr Joice Mujuru and MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe accused of trying to stage a palace coup by elbowing out Mr Morgan Tsvangirai from the apex of the new entity.
With the much anticipated polls less than a year away, the opposition is in disarray while Zanu-PF is strengthening its structures and reaching out to the electorate. President Mugabe told thousands of people at the Mutare rally on Friday that the coalition being mooted by opposition parties is good for Zanu-PF as the revolutionary party would simply crush them as an entity rather than dealing with them individually. He said defeat for the envisaged coalition was certain so long as Zanu-PF remained united.
President Mugabe promised the electorate to live up to their expectations and deliver on promises made. “I will try my best to live up to what I regard as the calling of the people. I will remain the same, I will remain the same yesterday, the same today, the same tomorrow,’ he said.
“We should live and work together. I am not a President of one section, but the President of the whole country,” he said. President Mugabe reiterated his call on senior party members to leave the youths to organise their programmes and not to use them for personal gains.
“Let us leave the youths free to organise their programmes the way they desire, provided the way is in accordance with the party principles and objectives. Give them assistance, but let us not let the youths betray the struggle.”
He bemoaned divisions in the main wings of the party while the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe called for unity among all party cadres. “If we remain united, no-one will come among us and destroy us. Youths you should not allow some individuals to use you for their selfish gains. Zanu-PF is a brand and youths should continue with the legacy left behind by the founding fathers of the struggle,” said the First Lady. “It is up to you to carry the struggle forward as the vanguard of the party.
“The party leaders should lead by example. Unity of purpose should prevail. Youths have more energy, but they should use that energy to develop the country,” she said. “You should shun all divisive elements. I hope and trust we are all working together. The Presidential Youth Interface Rallies should unite all the provinces. If we are united, we are assured of victory in next year’s harmonised elections,” she said.
We hail the President and First Lady for leading from the front by calling for unity among Zanu-PF cadres and urge disciplined followers to heed their wise counsel. Divisions along factional lines weaken the party and could present an avenue for the opposition to make gains.
The message of unity being preached by the President at every rally should resonate with the rank and file. We also exhort some party leaders given to using youths to further their interests to desist from doing so. Youths should be left to organise their own programmes without the interference of some bigwigs whose sole agenda is to divide them and use them to advance their interests.