The Sunday Mail
Levi Mukarati in Bulawayo
Zanu-PF’s mass mobilisation machinery rolled into the City of Kings and Queens yesterday, giving President Mugabe a royal welcome as tens of thousands of people packed White City Stadium to the rafters.
The 9th Presidential Youth Interface Meeting in Bulawayo reinforced the message of a Zanu-PF primed for the 2018 harmonised elections, as the ruling party looks set to attract close to a cumulative million people to its series of rallies across all of Zimbabwe’s provinces before year-end.
Waving national and party flags, and characteristically clad in Zanu-PF regalia — a lot of which emphasised the need to register to vote next year — the throngs gave a thunderous welcome to their leader as he arrived at the stadium just before midday.
As has become his tradition, President Mugabe went round the stadium saluting the thrilled multitudes.
The huge turn-out, as President Mugabe said in his address, proved that “Bulawayo had re-awakened”.
“The meeting, this interface, is a re-awakening of Bulawayo; a new re-awakening, a new re-awakening of Bulawayo and we shall not again be seen lacking in support of our party Zanu-PF.
“We shall not allow the opposition to take the lead, no, that is a pledge we must make. If it means staying awake and organising the people and sleeping only three four hours, let’s do so; let’s do so in the interest of our city, in the interest of our people,” President Mugabe said.
President Mugabe encouraged other provinces to assist Bulawayo redeem itself from opposition politics.
“But we know we have had problems here in Bulawayo, but anyway, those who came out (to attend the Interface) were many.
“… Regard this as an obligation, (an) obligation to get Bulawayo on top and not to allow (MDC-T leader Mr Morgan) Tsvangirai nana (MDC-T vice-president Thokozani) Khupe to be ahead of you.
“Saka tauya takazvisimbaradza mupfungwa kuti zvatinoita nhasi zvipe musandu kuvanhu nenhengo dzedu mu Bulawayo.”
President Mugabe went on: “We want change, Bulawayo must change. Tinotenda. I am glad that so many have come out, it’s the second city to Harare and we can’t afford to be losing it. Tinoda kutenda nekuunganidza kwamaita vanhu.”
President Mugabe said he cherishes the youth’s role in strengthening Zanu-PF.
He said the centrality of young people in national affairs is why his Government had seen it fit to charter an aeroplane to send delegates to the recent World Festival of Youths and Students in Russia.
President Mugabe said there is need to mobilise resources for the 2018 election campaign.
“Takati ngatitsvagei mota tipe madzimai, tipe vana mota. Asi zviri kunonoka handisati ndaziva kuti chiri kunonotsa chii?
“Ngatiwonei kuti pamwedzi iwowu, November asati apera, mota dzinenge dzauya. Tozvisimbaradza tozo organiser zvakasimba … Svondo rinouya please tell me zvasvika papi?