The National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) has condemned youths affiliated to political parties for the violence that occurred during the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs public hearings on the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
NYDT director-general Liberman Bhebhe said the organisation was “appalled by the behaviour and conduct of some youths who have taken a deliberate stance to disrupt progressive consultative meetings that provide Zimbabweans an opportunity to shape democratic transition processes.
“The recent orgy of violence that has characterised public consultations on policy issues is an indication of the regressive nature of some political parties that continue to bus young people to these meetings for the purposes of disrupting progress,” Bhebhe said.
“A case in point is the violent occurrences at Mucheke Hall in Masvingo on Wednesday October 19 as well as at the Bulawayo City Hall on Friday October 21, 2011 that led to the desertion of the meetings.”
After the disturbances in Bulawayo, committee chairperson Douglas Mwonzora said the process was marred by lawlessness.
“This (disturbances) underlies the lawlessness punctuating the whole programme. This also shows that there are State-sponsored thugs who want to disrupt the programme. The person (behimd the violence) was never arrested and we know that he will never be arrested,” Mwonzora said.
Bhebhe added such expressions of lack of tolerance among youths were “a strategy being used by their sponsors to make intolerance of political dissent a post-colonial culture with the consequent effect of derailing democratisation processes in Zimbabwe”.
He went on: “What is disheartening, and deserving strong condemnation, is the continuous use of young people as perpetrators of violence during these disruptions. Such behaviour, by these youths, is surely an appearance of the sad realities of ideological indoctrination.”
He said the net effect of such indoctrinations have been the survival of a Zimbabwe with a terribly stunted democratic culture, antipathy and hatred of democracy; and disdain for human rights, tolerance and pluralism.
In a political climate like the one prevailing in Zimbabwe where the old is dying and the new cannot be born, he said, it becomes inevitable for the consequent political vacuum to be occupied by political monsters.