Felex Share Senior Reporter—
All is set for President Mugabe’s first provincial interactive meeting with youths in Mashonaland East Province tomorrow, where Zanu-PF will launch a massive campaign for voter registration of youths ahead of the 2018 harmonised elections. Youth rallies in all 10 provinces, effectively launch the League’s campaign for 2018 on the back of recent findings by respected think-tank Afrobarometer that President Mugabe’s approval ratings have been increasing in inverse proportion to trust for the opposition.
The province has secured over 200 buses to ferry youths, women and war veterans to Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera.
Members of the Zanu-PF Youth League, led by their secretary Cde Kudzanayi Chipanga, yesterday toured the venue alongside Politburo member Cde Sydney Sekeramayi, Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Ambrose Mutinhiri and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Cde Patrick Zhuwao.
Both parties expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness, saying Zanu-PF was reinforcing its groundwork ahead of polls next year.
Cde Chipanga said everyone, including war veterans, was invited to the event.
“I can safely say we are now at 90 percent in terms of preparedness,” he said. “The tent facilities are being put in place and people have been mobilised. All is in place logistically and we hope by the end of day tomorrow everything will be in its position.”
He added: “The only person we consider of paramount importance is the President, but at the same time we are a party wing and we work hand in hand with the Women’s League.
“They are free to come, we have invited the secretary for Women Affairs, Dr Grace Mugabe. The moment she comes it means women will also be part of us. Because the President is coming, obviously our Vice Presidents, Politburo, Central Committee members will come and that will not deter us from putting across our points as far as youths challenges are concerned.”
Apart from launching a campaign for voter registration for the youths, Cde Chipanga said, President Mugabe would interact with the youths, responding directly to their concerns.
Cde Chipanga said war veterans were invited to the event despite negative comments by some members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association.
“War veterans are our parents,” he said. “Don’t mind about certain individuals in the association. They are not the association. We have invited them because they are our colleagues in the party. Don’t mind about individuals, mind about the association.”
Cde Sekeremayi said Mashonaland East felt honoured to receive President Mugabe, who is the Zanu-PF First Secretary and President.
“We are here to ensure there are no issues that can complicate things and that the people attend the event and get the way forward for our country from the President himself,” he said.
“Being the first province to host the meetings, we are obviously under pressure, but we are able to deal with that without any real set back. The leadership is here and if there are any issues which are observed as weak points, they will be addressed.”
From Mashonaland East, President Mugabe will head to Manicaland on June 16, before visiting Masvingo.
All the 10 provinces will have similar gatherings.
Cde Zhuwao said the meetings were indicative of the value and importance of young people.
“Young people were at the forefront of delivering political independence of this country and we believe as a ministry and as articulated by President Mugabe that young people will be at the forefront of delivering economic independence,” he said.
“The economy resides within the provinces and the President is coming to meet those young people who will deliver economic independence. The youths will also be able to articulate some of the opportunities available and able to direct Government on how those opportunities can be unlocked.”
Cde Mutinhiri weighed in: “All roads will lead to Rudhaka Stadium. We have done the necessary preparations as we have more than 200 buses and trucks to ferry people to the venue.
“Our aim (as Mashonaland East) is to set a pace that no province will be able to emulate. That’s our spirit approach and all our people know this.”
President Mugabe’s engagements with the youths will run until October.