YOUTH, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Patrick Zhuwao has savaged Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantino Chiwenga and the Chris Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association for claiming that they are “stockholders” of the liberation struggle.
By Wongai Zhangazha
Zhuwao says the nation must now embrace the Generation 40 group (G40) in all political and socio-economic spheres.
Speaking in his personal capacity at a Sapes Policy Dialogue public discussion titled: The Legacy of the Heroes: Challenges and Opportunities for the Youth last Wednesday, Zhuwao took a dig at Chiwenga and war veterans, saying the “stockholders” concept would not work as the youths were now seized with a new struggle for socio-economic empowerment.
In direct response to President Robert Mugabe, who at a meeting in Harare in April last year said war veterans were an affiliate of Zanu PF which had no mandate to interfere in the party’s affairs, war veterans said they are “stockholders” of the ruling party, while those running the party are “stakeholders”. Chiwenga, in an interview with state media in the same month, also said the military were “stockholders” of the country. Youths, according to the constitution, are people between the ages of 17 and 35. Zhuwao said young people should be afforded a role in the country’s current political discourse.
“This is a huge demographic force that reality must recognise. We cannot exclude the youths. No sane country applying its faculties and reason can dare exclude them, certainly not Zimbabwe and certainly not under the distortion of the national liberation project that seeks to assert the context of stockholders,” said Zhuwao, who is a key member of the G40 Zanu PF faction, coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe. The G40 faction is determined to derail Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed Mugabe. The Mnangagwa faction’s pillar of strength has been war veterans and the military.
“We need to be able to recognise that the (stockholders) concept will really ultimately not work. Ultimately the youths of today must be identified according to the calls of the country as much as the youth of yesterday were identified to the calls of their time. So the youths of yesterday are largely our war veterans who were identified according to the calls of fighting militarily for political independence,” Zhuwao said.
He said the time has come for the country’s young generation to consolidate the gains of the liberation struggle by winning the “Last Chimurenga” of indigenisation and empowerment.
“Ultimately, the national liberation project demands conversations between heroes of our past who succeeded in Zimbabwe’s political revolution and the new heroes of our liberation present which is socio-economic revolution. This is a conversation that must desist from exclusive stockholder narratives (and) instead adopt inclusive stakeholdership,” he said.
Zhuwao said the role of youths can “only be defined within the unadulterated unaligned concept of a Generation40 as first elucidated by Professor (Jonathan) Moyo (Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education) in August 2011 some six years ago”.
“Generation 40 speaks to the reality of the youth demographic, which speaks to emerging new stakeholders to the national liberation project, which Zimbabwe in all of its political socio-economic fabric must embrace,” he said, quoting parts of Moyo’s interview in state media.
Zhuwao also quoted Moyo as saying, “Why is it that some comrades in the nationalist movement in general and in Zanu PF in particular seem to be afraid of change when it is a fact of everyday life and is thus essential to the survival of any living thing whether biological, social, economic or political?”