ZANU PF officials were yesterday left with egg on their faces after their much-hyped solidarity march with President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured), which was meant to counter Tuesday’s highly successful MDC Alliance protest march, failed to attract the anticipated huge numbers.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and other top Zanu PF and government officials were initially pencilled to address the march, but were in a no-show, as it became apparent that the event had flopped.
Only Zanu PF youth secretary, Pupurai Togarepi and a few youth leaders were at the top table.
The march was also characterised by chaos, as the few party members in attendance openly fought amongst themselves and defied orders after they failed to get campaigning regalia.
Plans to march into the CBD were abandoned, as organisers opted for a shorter and out-of-town route from the open space adjacent to the magistrates’ courts, into Rotten Row, then Samora Machel Avenue before turning into Rekai Tangwena Avenue and back to the venue.
Tempers flared during the chaotic distribution of T-shirts at the venue and got worse after youth commissar, Godfrey Tsenengamu ordered those disbursing the regalia to stop to pave way for the commencement of the programme.
Angry supporters started shouting, but their leaders responded by threatening to unleash security officials on those who were protesting.
Instead of dispersing and joining those that were preparing to march, the disgruntled youth stormed the stage, resulting in pushing and shoving between supporters and the security.
Those in charge begged for calm fearing that the public address system would be damaged, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
As the march commenced, scores of supporters remained at the venue, claiming they were not going to participate until their issues were addressed.
After reconvening at the venue for the commencement of the programme, the numbers dwindled further, with some members openly castigating the leadership for its failure to organise the much anticipated solidarity march that was largely reportedly organised to counter the one by opposition MDC-T, where a far much bigger crowd attended, compared to Zanu PF’s.
In his keynote address, Zanu PF secretary for youth affairs, Pupurai Togarepi apologised for the chaos and expended his energy by launching an attack on the opposition for its demands for electoral reforms.
He questioned MDC Alliance’s rationale for demanding reforms, saying their march showed lack of strategy and – without a hint of irony – support on the ground.
Togarepi claimed the opposition was busy enjoying perks in Parliament and forgetting about their desired reforms, only to resurface ahead of elections.
“Zec has nothing to do with Zanu PF, Zec is just a neutral referee.
“Zanu PF did its job and people are saying Mnangagwa has my vote.
“It is not our problem that you were playing and lying about many things when we were on the ground,” he said in reference to reported claims that MDC-T leader, Nelson Chamisa said they had been promised a $15 billion bailout by the US.
Togarepi urged the Zanu PF youth to remain calm and not fight back even when provoked by the opposition.