Zanu PF youths desert party

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Zanu PF, which has been in power since independence in 1980, is in bad shape ahead of possible elections next year, amid reports that the party’s combative youths have begun to desert it for failure to deliver on its promises, NewsDay can exclusively reveal.
Information filtering through to this newspaper is that at least 100 youths were deserting the party each month particularly in one province, Matabeleland South, since November last year with fears other provinces could follow suit.
The youths, who are prone to be used as cannon fodder during elections, had been promised heaven on earth if they secured a landslide victory for the party or its leader President Robert Mugabe in the disputed bloody 2008 plebiscite.
But two years down the line, the youths are still roaming the streets.
This has sparked massive resignations in Matabeleland South as disillusioned youths — the largest sector of the Zimbabwean electorate — trek to South Africa and Botswana in search of jobs.
Zanu PF’s Matabeleland South provincial chairman Andrew Langa confirmed in an interview on Wednesday that the party was at sixes and sevens over the exodus of its youths to neighbouring countries to take up menial jobs.
He said Zanu PF, now in panic mode, had since embarked on a desperate recruitment campaign to“fill gaps left by the party’s youths” in that province.
“We are restructuring and, as you know, restructuring of our structures is an ongoing exercise,” Langa said.
“Most of our structures are still intact, but we have to fill gaps left by a number of our youths who left. We are on a campaign to recruit youths to the party.
“Our youths in Zanu PF have gone to South Africa and other neighbouring countries like Botswana to look for jobs. They believe they can get jobs there since we are failing to provide them with employment,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said the party was worried about the sudden exodus of its youths. “We are worried and concerned when we hear that our youths are leaving the party for greener pastures, but we can’t stop them. If they say they want to go, what can we do about it?
“But if we have to tell the truth, yes, the economy has improved, but it’s not ticking. We still can’t meet the demands of the people because of the sanctions imposed on us by the West. We still have all sorts of problems hampering economic growth,” said Gumbo.
This development comes at a time when the former liberation movement has tasked its provinces to ready and restructure themselves for polls to dismantle the current government set-up which includes President Mugabe, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and Arthur Mutambara of the breakaway faction of the MDC as his deputy.
The three were forced into a marriage of convenience by Sadc leaders following the harmonised polls in which President Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai. Despite beating President Mugabe, Tsvangirai did not garner enough votes to be declared Zimbabwe’s new president.
Early this year, Zanu PF said it would print over 1,6 million party membership cards for sale to its membership, a move widely seen as an ambitious recruitment project.
But analysts say the former ruling party might have to employ its traditional tactics of coercion and partisan food distribution to win the hearts of its lost support base.