PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is today expected to meet Zanu PF youths in the capital to drum up support ahead of the June 27 presidential election run-off against the MDCâ€™s Morgan Tsvangirai.
Since the launch of his run-off campaign on May 25, Mugabe and Zanu PF have been targeting the youths to vote for the ageing leader who has been in power since Independence in 1980.
Zanu PFâ€™s run-off information and publicity committee chairperson Patrick Chinamasa confirmed yesterday that Mugabe would have an “interactive meeting” with the youths who are drawn from throughout the country.
Chinamasa said the meeting was part of Zanu PFâ€™s campaign where Mugabe would meet the electorate.
“This interactive meeting is part of our meet the people campaign where our candidate President Mugabe will meet youths who will be drawn from all parts of the country with the aim to understand their visions,” Chinamasa said. “Cde Mugabe will have a one on one with the youths and get to know where they are coming from and where they are going.”
He said Mugabe would lecture the youths on the causes of the current economic hardships in the country.
“We want them to be empowered and reassure them that even if they might not have jobs they have education, which is the basis of all empowerment, and guide them to be future employers,” said the Justice minister.
The interactive meeting was yesterday given immense mileage by the public broadcaster, Power FM.
A recorded voice of MP elect for Mberengwa East Makhosini Hlongwane was re-played several times describing the meeting as a “celebration of the achievements that the youths have made and an appreciation of the work of President Mugabe of deregulating and liberating the market”.
However, the meeting has been described by director of Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe (Yidez), Sidney Chisi, as a desperate measure by Zanu PF to hoodwink the youths with the aim of getting votes.
“It is very clear that this is just a desperate measure by Zanu PF to deceive youths so that they get their votes in the upcoming elections,” Chisi said. “While the government might have empowered us through education, right now if you go around schools and colleges the education system has collapsed.”
He charged that the youths were being used by political parties to beat up voters.
“Youths cannot talk about empowerment when the economy is sinking,” he added. “You canâ€™t give young people land and expect them to be empowered with no resources. Zanu PF should start empowerment by genuinely listening and responding to the needs of the youths. I urge youths to take the interactive meeting with a pinch of salt.”
Zanu PF, in one of its run-off advertisements, has resorted to hip-hop lyrics in a bid to woo younger voters to vote for the 84-year-old Mugabe.
The advertisement features lyrics from the late American rap star Tupac Shakurâ€™s early hit song Keep Ya Head Up from his album Strictly for my NIGGAZ.
By Wongai Zhangazha