The observation that youths in political parties are often used as merely stepping stones to the pinnacle of power by politicians is slowly taking shape in Zimbabwe as the election season fast approaches.
Just on Thursday MDC-T youths fought running battles in the capital city leading to the arrest of 35 as political temperatures rise.
Across the divide, in Zanu PF, we have also witnessed how youths are taking positions in support of certain political figures as the party continues to implode.
Regardless of the political parties, however, we have observed over the past years how young people are often used as cannon fodder by powerful politicians comfortably ensconced in their offices and lush homes.
It is unfortunate that young people are often used to fight political battles that do not bring any positive contribution to their lives. From as far back as 2000 many youths have been used to inflict pain on people belonging to an opposing political group — in some cases committing murder in the name of a party — but if you look at them today, you will realise they have nothing to show for all their troubles.
During the recent clash between the police and MDC-T, Harare’s central business district resembled a warzone as violent clashes erupted when police tried to block a demonstration by the youths, who were demanding the immediate resignation of President Robert Mugabe, whom they blamed for the worsening economic challenges.
In the event that President Mugabe indeed resigns, will that automatically translate to a shift in fortunes for the better for these youngsters, or they will be quickly forgotten?
Young people must refuse to be used for the political ends of the powerful while at the end of the day they will be left counting their losses.
Since the turn of the millennium, many MDC-T youths have come and gone — some even killed — and were quickly forgotten, just as in Zanu PF where high-profile people whose contributions to the party and country are a matter of public record have also been ejected in the heat of factional fights. These are the ominous signs that youths must be watching and reading.
They may end up just as foot soldiers who fight for the political rise of officials who will quickly forget about them the moment they step into office. These leaders surround themselves with new people who will help them eat the national cake at the expense of everybody else, including the youths who would have worked hard on their behalf campaigning for them in very difficult circumstances.
So as the election season draws closer and closer, young people must be on guard and refuse to be used for the political ends of a few selfish people out to get power at all cost.