HomeLocal NewsVP Nkomo outbursts spark invasions

VP Nkomo outbursts spark invasions

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Zanu PF youths in Bulawayo yesterday invaded a building in the city centre, claiming they had been galvanised into action by Vice-President John Nkomo’s accusation that people of Bulawayo were lazy.

The youths, who claimed the building had been lying idle since 2003, said they wanted to demonstrate they did not suffer from “inertia” and would not go back on company seizures.

The Zanu PF secretary for economic affairs for Ward 1, Fungai Mandisekwe, said they had taken over the building along 13th Avenue between Robert Mugabe Way and George Silundika Street “and (would) seek to engage the owners”.

It was not immediately clear yesterday who the owners of the rundown building are.

“We seek to engage the owners of the building and are kindly asking that they come forward and we dialogue. We want to chart a way forward and create empowerment opportunities for the many youths who are unemployed and disempowered.

“At the rate at which firms are closing down, there is need for an immediate solution to this challenge rather than long-term measures. Our taking over this building is the first step towards dealing with this problem of the de-industrialisation of our city,” he said.

Yesterday afternoon a NewsDay crew visited the invaded building whose ceiling was falling apart because of neglect, although the main structure looked intact. The building — which housed a mini-sewing factory — had 15 heavy-duty sewing machines comprising buttonhole, blind stitch and overlocking machines.

“This has the capacity to create a lot of employment and empowerment opportunities for the youths in Bulawayo.

“While the decline in industrial activity in the city has been attributed to the illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by Western nations, unavailability of long-term loans and unviable tariffs, we have unearthed here a deliberate ploy by the owner of this building to rob the people of Bulawayo of an opportunity to help in the rebuilding of the economy,” said Mandisekwe. Another youth, Andrew Manjoro, who was part of the invaders, said they were “deeply concerned by this act of sabotage”.

“As Zanu PF youths of Bulawayo city centre, we are prepared to take over this factory and start working. We are not going back. We are prepared to take this and run it as a viable business. We can manage if we pool our resources together. We were hurt when the VP said Matabeleland people are very lazy,” he said.
Mandisekwe said they had taken stock of everything they found in the building and would ensure that nothing was looted.

“We also found a huge stockpile of books, satchels, socks, school bags and sewing material which had been badly affected by rats and rain. We have therefore taken a stock count of everything we found here, copies of which will be forwarded to our provincial chairman and other high offices,” he said.

Contacted for comment, the Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairman, Isaac Dakamela, said the youths had not yet informed him of their takeover of the building.

“I don’t have information on that because they haven’t told me anything. Maybe they will tell me,” he said.

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