PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will soon embark on countrywide campaign rallies to drum up support for his faction-ridden party ahead of next year’s general elections, with youths leading in the organisation of the rallies.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Top Zanu PF sources yesterday said the party’s youth commissar, Innocent Hamandishe, had already visited several provinces doing the groundwork for Mugabe’s imminent nationwide rallies.
“Hamandishe has been to Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Bulawayo and Matabeleland North to prepare youth league structures for the President,” a source revealed.
“Instead of organising a million-man march, the league has decided that we will take the President to the provinces.”
Zanu PF Manicaland provincial youth league chairperson, Mubuso Chinguno, confirmed the rallies.
“It’s true, we are preparing and have activated our committees, including information and publicity, fundraising and organising, for the Mutare rally,” he said.
“We do not have a specific date yet, but we are looking for finance to print (campaign) T-shirts and caps as well as to transport 100 000 youths for the rally, which will be held at the Aerodrome (Mutare).”
Chinguno said the rallies were meant to shore up Mugabe’s support base.
“We want to show those in the party and outside, who claim that the President no longer has support, that they are wrong,” he said.
“This is our way, as the youth league, to show our solidarity with the President and quash any rumours about our allegiance. We will also raise issues affecting youths in the province, including but not limited to jobs, access to land and other resources as well as their general well-being.”
At 93 and battling ill health, Mugabe has been endorsed as the Zanu PF presidential candidate for next year’s elections.
Having the youth lead his campaigns signals that Mugabe has all but dumped war veterans, who were the lifeblood of Zanu PF campaigns between 2000 and 2013.
A fallout between the former freedom fighters’ executive and the President has seen them being jettisoned out of Zanu PF on charges of indiscipline.
Zanu PF sources said the ruling party’s youth leader, Kudzanai Chipanga, an alleged G40 proponent, would also address the party’s provincial structures ahead of Mugabe’s visits.
“The President’s rallies are basically to prepare our youths for the 2018 general elections,” a source said.
“There are just too many divisions and the youth league wants to steer away from these. The current situation in the party, especially the political commissar (Saviour Kasukuwere) problem, could spill into the youth league and we do not want that.
“Chipanga will make the final preparations for the President’s rallies with meetings across the provinces. We would like to make sure they are a success. It’s pretty soon, just that we need to make sure this programme is linked to the President’s diary.”
Chipanga was not available for comment yesterday.
Kasukuwere has been in the eye of a storm on allegations he has been setting up parallel party structures with the aim of deposing Mugabe at the party’s annual conference in December that the G40 faction has actively been agitating it be turned into an extraordinary congress.