10 August 2014

Zimbabwe: You're Political Prostitutes, Mugabe Tells 'Bought' Zanu-PF Youths

Photo: Justin Mutenda/The Herald
Zanu-PF youths at the 2014 youth league.

THE Zanu PF youth congress ended well into the wee hours of Sunday with President Robert Mugabe staying up until 4am, watching aghast as the process was marred by vote buying, resulting in "rubbish" individuals being elected.

Makoni West MP, Kudzai Chipanga, trounced Tongai Kasukuwere to land the coveted post of party deputy secretary for youth affairs.

Although a youth under Zanu PF's internal statutes must be aged 35 and below, the party still keeps Absolom Sikhosana, who is in his 60s, as secretary for youth affairs.

Fierce squabbling marred the Zanu PF youth leadership renewal process with allegations of vote buying and 50-year-olds said to have cast ballots.

The dispute was put to a spur of the moment secret ballot where Manicaland's Chipanga prevailed over Mashonaland Central's Kasukuwere - younger brother to Water Resources Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

Chipanga registered a comprehensive 1,381 to 986 votes routing of the stocky businessman.

Mugabe, who was slated to deliver his closing address by late Saturday, stayed well into the early hours of Sunday to see off a process he later admitted was problematic.

Meanwhile, Varaidzo Mpunga, a Chipanga ally, also trounced an ageing Luis Matutu by 1,413 to 891 votes to become party youth secretary for administration.

President Mugabe, in a closing speech delivered to a virtually snoozing auditorium, just after 4am, admitted the youth polls were marred by vote buying by unnamed individuals he described as "rubbish".

"I know there have been hitches. Ndinoziva zvangu kuti vakuru vamwe vakamboedza apo nepapapa; some monies and so on. Get away from that," Mugabe charged.

"Mukaita tsika yekujaira kupihwa mari and you want to act nekuti matopihwa mari chete, kana musina kupihwa mari 'ahh hapana chandinoita' you are spoiled already. To me you don't deserve to be a youth league leader at all.

"If you allow other people to buy you and if you had voted because 'ndakapihwa mari nangana kuti ndivote nepapa, nemutowo uyu' and ukavhotawo nemutowo iwowo nekuti wapihwa mari, goodness me, you are rubbish!

"You are as, more also, just rubbish as the person who has given you the money; both of you, the giver and the given are alike."

Mugabe also criticised party hawks who ascend to leadership positions through bribery.

He urged the youths to guard against being "made puppets" by senior Zanu PF politicians adding that, "you are not political prostitutes".

Mugabe admitted, "when something is wrong, it is wrong."

Mugabe, a proponent of indigenisation, also admitted most indigenous banks were sinking due to unbridled greed and corruption by their black proprietors.

While urging youths to stick to ethical ways of practising farming and exercising patience, Mugabe also took delight in boasting about his farming prowess adding that he paid his children's fees abroad through proceeds from his farms.

The poorly organised Zanu PF youth league conference was held 7-10 August and kicked off with the embarrassment of the party leader being forced to volunteer his own farm produce to rescue starving youth delegates.

The conference played precursor to a women's league conference during which Mugabe's wife, Grace, is expected to stroll to victory unopposed.

This is despite her not having been an active party member in her 49-year lifetime so far.

The sudden thrusting of the garrulous First Lady into uncharted waters by one of the ever scheming Zanu PF factions is widely viewed as Mugabe's way of steaming off a simmering succession war pitting Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The two forerunner conferences are a build up to the highly defining December conference which would shed more light as to how Zanu PF wished to juggle its dicey succession battles.

Mugabe has fumed at the clandestine succession battles dogging his party.

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