SW Radio Africa (London)

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Youths to Access National Youth Funds

It has been reported that youths from the MDC-T youths are to benefit from the National Youth Fund (NYF), controlled by ZANU PF's Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

The daily NewsDay newspaper reported on Monday that despite the MDC-T denouncing the scheme as a ZANU PF project, Kasukuwere last week instructed banks administering the fund to approve loan applications by MDC-T activists.

This was after Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T's national organizing secretary, reportedly tried to 'secretly' liaise with financial institutions to process the loans to appease the restive youths in his party.

It is widely known the MDC-T has been discouraging its party faithful from participating in the scheme, describing the project as motivated by electioneering. Analysts see this sudden change by Kasukuwere as part of ZANU PF's grand plan to buy votes from young voters.

NewsDay said that until recently only ZANU PF youths had benefited from soft loans disbursed under the NYF which forms part of the former ruling party's indigenization policy.

The paper said Kasukuwere claimed at a rally in Mt Darwin on Friday that the MDC-T leadership was under pressure from its youths, who were allegedly demanding permission to access the funds to initiate their own various self-help projects.

Chamisa is quoted by the paper saying the fund is a national project which should not be politicized. He was backed by the party's youth spokesman, Clifford Hlatswayo, who said regardless of political affiliation, every youth in Zimbabwe should have access to the fund.

'It's not about Kasukuwere, ZANU PF or the MDC, that fund is budgeted for by the treasury and should benefit all youths and not only those from ZANU PF,' Hlatswayo said.

The youth leader said it was a political gimmick by Kasukuwere to imply that the fund was part of ZANU PF's indigenization policy when in fact the money came from the Ministry of Finance.

'For the record, our members have not just woken up now and applied for the loans. They've been doing so for the past year but with little success because it has been a preserve of ZANU PF members to get the loans,' Hlatswayo added.

ZANU PF has been on a free-spending drive to attract voters in the crucial elections expected between June and August. Over the weekend Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said government will soon grant mining rights to farmers on whose land mineral deposits are discovered.

Yet another blatant attempt at vote buying, according to analysts.

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