by Tawanda Musariri
Demonstration-weary youths from the MDC have expressed disinterest in partaking in demos called for by the party in the wake of defeat at the hands of Zanu PF both on the ballot and at the Constitutional Court.
This inertia comes in against the call by the opposition party to stage anti-Government demonstrations as the party leadership says it will employ ‘other avenues’ to register their political complaints.
Party insiders told the Harare Post that there is a lot of disquiet in the MDC youth department as some have openly expressed disappointment that they are being used as fodder to enrich senior party executives’ political stars while they wallow in poverty yet they are tasked to perform risky activities. A Harare province youth who said he declined involvement in the mooted demos said the party is reneging on offering legal, moral and financial help to cadres caught in the trenches trying to animate their shared political project.
This month, Tendai Biti, a principal in the MDC Alliance did not sleep a minute in remand prison after he managed to raise a whopping $5 000 bail after his failed asylum attempt in Zambia. Party youths often fail to raise little bail money as the party reserves its resources for the comfort of the executive which ironically never puts itself in the forefront for ‘dirty’ jobs.
Kunashe Muchemwa, losing Bulawayo Central candidate and a member of the youth league has had his wife approaching the MDC Bulawayo Province office pleading for help with her family after her husband had had a long date with the law. She complained bitterly that opposition politics wasn’t bringing any food and expected comforts to her family. She further regretted the blind eye the party was paying to her family’s predicament despite sacrifices made by her husband. Muchemwa entered the election with a warrant of arrest on his head for political violence.
In an open war cry against the court ruling, Nelson Chamisa said, “Yes, we respect the Constitutional Court, not only because it is the court that is expected to respect the issues of law, but also because I am an officer of the court and I respect the court. But respecting the court does not by definition mean accepting its decisions. The legal door is not the only door to happiness and democracy. There are many other doors, and the political doors are going to be opened very soon using our Constitution. We have the right to peaceful demonstrations and protests.”
Harare Post has it on good authority that plans are afoot in the party to stage demonstrations and a steering committee has been set in Harare with members of the youth league leading this initiative. Individuals singled out include Milton Sekerera (Kuwadzana), Tendai Bokosho (Sunningdale), Denford Maruta (Glenview), Samuel Chipfatsura (Highfield), John Masiye (Harare South), Trevor Gatya (Harare Central), Frank Nyathi (Glen Norah), Batanai Masunda (Epworth), Rockwell Makusha (Highfield) and Matundu Ticharwa of Mufakose.
During a preparatory meeting for the demos with the above, Tendai Machekahanzu, a Mufakose youth leader was cornered by youths to press the party for financial resources for their welfare during and after the demo. He promised that the party would rise to this need without giving concrete assurances, given the party’s history of neglect of its foot soldiers.
The MDC party leadership is known for its largesse on personal comforts and rhetoric on political mobilisation but is never practical on its ideas, leaving the job to desperate youths. Job Sikhala, psyched mourners to be ready to enter the streets at the funeral of Chitungwiza member Fidelis Mhashu recently. In recent past demonstrations organised by the party, Sikhala has never been seen on the streets. Instead, he spends much of his time defending clients in court for his private benefit, some of which clients include Zanu PF members.
The party’s call for demos is heading for a definite failure given the youths’ pensive mood against the ill treatment they are getting.