Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The Zanu-PF Youth League has distanced itself from utterances by the organ’s deputy secretary Cde Kudzanai Chipanga that the wing was ready to fight veterans of the liberation struggle, as well as staging a demonstration against The Herald.
Cde Chipanga told some youths that they should get ready for war against war veterans whom he said were fewer than the youths whom he said constituted 65 percent of the population.
He also claimed that war veterans were suffering from sugar diabetes, and as such, would not last a protracted confrontation.
But in an exclusive interview with The Herald yesterday, Cde Pupurai Togarepi said the youth league respected veterans of the struggle, as such they had no reason to fight them.
“There is no reason to fight the war veterans because we are learning a lot from them,” he said. “They are the people who showed their resilience in liberating this country. So, there is no reason whatsoever.
“The majority of our youths who are in the executive of our structures are children of veterans of the liberation struggle who are war veterans, war collaborators and ex- detainees. So they would not fight their own parents.
“The position of the Youth League is that these founding fathers of our revolution are critical for us to learn from and move forward with our revolution.”
Cde Togarepi said the revolutionary party had mechanisms in place to deal with personal clashes among members of its organs.
“I have talked to my deputy (Cde Chipanga) about that issue and he showed me that he had no intention to have any misunderstanding with the war veterans but it could have been a statement that was misread or misunderstood.
Cde Togarepi also said the Youth League had no right to demonstrate against The Herald as incited by Cde Chipanga. He said they had no problems with The Herald, or any journalists, but were against denigration of the party leadership by some party officials and some sections of the media.
“The Herald must continue to do its work and must continue to do that without any fear or favour. There won’t be youths coming there to have any confrontation with the media there or any person there. It is not our way of doing things.
“Otherwise we have nothing against any journalist, but obviously we get offended when journalists, time and again, insult our leaders. It has become a norm that journalists will insult the President, insult the Vice Presidents-Cde Mnangagwa and Cde Mphoko, the First Lady and many other leaders are subjected to a lot of abuse,” said Cde Togarepi.
He also confirmed meeting President Mugabe where they deliberated about the conduct of the youths and the role they should play in the development of the country.
“The President said (we should) ensure that youths are busy. They work for themselves and work for this country. He said there is no need for them to involve themselves in areas that affect their stature as responsible youths. So he said do whatever you can to direct youths to be responsible, well-groomed, well-educated and advised as future leaders.
Cde Togarepi who addressed a Press conference earlier, defended the 21st February Movement celebrations saying it was worthwhile, given President Mugabe’s role in the independence of the country.
He was fielding questions from journalists who asked why the party did not direct the money that has been mobilised for the celebrations towards procuring food for citizens facing hunger.
“We are celebrating the life of a person who has brought so much good to his country. These problems are not unique to Zimbabwe. There are authorities in Zimbabwe that are supposed to look after the social needs, feeding needs of our people,” Cde Togarepi said.