Opposition fears bloody 2018 election campaign

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Obert Gutu

OPPOSITION parties and political analysts yesterday expressed fears of a bloody 2018 election campaign, after President Robert Mugabe’s call for the re-introduction of the dreaded National Youth Service (NYS) programme.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu

Mugabe told party supporters at his 93rd birthday celebrations in Matabeleland South’s Matobo district at the weekend that government needed to re-introduce the programme, whose graduates are derisively referred to as the “Green Bombers”.

The NYS graduates reportedly unleashed a reign of terror on opposition activists in the 2008 run-off elections that reportedly left over 300 opposition activists dead and dozens missing.

Opposition MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said Mugabe’s call is not surprising.

“These young thugs are the storm troopers of the Zanu PF regime. They are the modern-day equivalent of Adolf Hitler’s Gestapo. The whole idea is to intimidate and unleash violence on the innocent and toiling masses of Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas. When Mugabe once boasted that he has got degrees in violence, he wasn’t joking. He was damn serious,” Gutu said.

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume described Mugabe’s NYS programme as a “watered down version” of the infamous Fifth Brigade blamed for the death of over 20 000 civilians in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions in the early 1980s. The massacres are commonly referred to as Gukurahundi.

“This is a murderous programme in which youths are indoctrinated to be violent and abusive. It is a watered down version of the Fifth Brigade targeting the whole country. People will be beaten, killed and abused by those youths.

Mugabe only learns lessons to repeat violence and retain power,” he said.

MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi said: “His (Mugabe’s) intention is to turn the jobless youths into dogs of war.

It is an evil and very sad intention by the Zanu PF leader. The national youth service is a very noble idea in other countries but has been given a different meaning by Zanu PF in Zimbabwe.

“We cannot allow this perennial abuse of the country’s most productive demographic group by a regime that is convinced of its exit in 2018. The news rekindles sad memories of a gory past, but it will not shift the winds of change.”

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimFP) party challenged Mugabe to invest in infrastructure development and job creation instead of creating “merchants of violence”.

“What we do not need are people investing in militias, in merchants of violence in order to win elections. The government should get its priorities right and put the interests of the people first,” ZimpF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire said.

Political analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya said, with the government struggling to pay civil servants salaries, the NYS would likely present fresh headaches for Treasury.

“If anything they (Green Bombers) have been associated with unlawful and illicit activities.

“I do not think there is budgetary space to fund this kind of programme at a time government is failing to honour its basic obligations to its current workforce. From a public management point of view, there is no reason to reintroduce the national youth service,” he said.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The opposition parties must have a strategy against violence. How do we deal with bullies in this modern age? Are these bullies not known? Photograph them dicreetly and circulate their [ictures EVERYWHERE.

    Do they have relatives? Spread their names and addresses around.

    Unless the opposition understands the fear, it needs to encourage voters to confront the fear. Usually this is a small number of ruthless vagabonds, why not hit back? Taking them out will make them understand that violence has no master. Tit for tat period.

  2. Its high time opposition parties stop being cry babies and punching bags.
    Whenever you are attacked with fire you should also return fire. You have the arms, the legs etc use them.

  3. Hmm I’m not surprised by the nonagenarian call for the reestablishment of the NYS.The fall of the revolutionary party is inevitable but I think the real concern should be “Is the opposition ready?”

    • That is the big question. Aya maBorder asingaGezi haana basa. They can only talk for as long as they have someone giving them orders from the top. Once gone, enf of game.

      But how will we fill the power gap in the country? Thats a real question

  4. Opposition magwara, upto now no strategy to counter this well known zanu trick you let people down by instilling fear on them, why not also send your youths to that training programme?

  5. Manje this ime mari yose ichainda kunogadzirisa the effect of Denio.Havalume.Mwari ndiye anogadzirisa zvese.2008 aakunza maDiamonds kwachiyadzwa kuti vanhu vabatsirike.Iyezvino aunza maguta but hurumende ichisahndisa mari yeZinara kubasa rayo.

  6. As long as the Green bombers do not have fire arms,there is nothing to be afraid of.Let them get indoctrinated with the zanu pf propaganda,but we will also have strategies in place to counter their cowardice attacks against innocent citizens.Like any other cornered dictator,this old timer wants to unleash his dogs of war against the electorate so that they will vote for his mafia organisation in the 2018 elections.Forget and smile sekuru,because this time around even those like us that used to be quiet about such nonsensical brutality have risen up from our deep slumber and beware that the same militia that you want trained to beat up the povo may turn the trigger against you.

  7. As long as the Green bombers do not have fire arms,there is nothing to be afraid of.Let them get indoctrinated with the zanu pf propaganda,but we will also have strategies in place to counter their cowardice attacks against innocent citizens.Like any other cornered dictator,this old timer wants to unleash his dogs of war against the electorate so that they will vote for his mafia organisation in the 2018 elections.Forget and smile sekuru,because this time around even those like us that used to be quiet about such nonsensical brutality have risen up from our deep slumber and beware that the same militia that you want trained to beat up the povo may turn the trigger against you. The writing is now on the wall in bold letters!

  8. This time they don’t have any chance.Those days we were not politically mature and violent as well this time they can learn from Tajamuka who ever thought such a thing will happen.Let them come they will be our punch bags and even the boys and girls are tired they can join but they will be on opposition side so beware Gushungo this time uchaurayisa vana “BASOPO”.

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