The Sunday Mail
Zanu-PF’s mobilisation juggernaut thundered into Matabeleland South yesterday for the sixth Presidential Youth Interface Meeting which attracted tens of thousands of people to Gwanda’s Pelandaba Stadium.
A sea of people in the ruling party’s colourful regalia, much of it emblazoned with President Mugabe’s face, and some bearing messages like “Register to vote and be counted # Jointeamzanupf2018”, sent a clear message that Zanu-PF is chomping at the bit ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.
The sixth Presidential Youth Interface Meeting followed similarly oversubscribed ones in Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Mashonaland West provinces.
At around 1pm, the distinctive blue and white Zim One Presidential helicopter, escorted by two Air Force of Zimbabwe choppers, signalled President Mugabe’s arrival and triggered deafening cheers and ululations.
And as he has done ahead of his addresses at the interfaces, President Mugabe first commissioned a community information centre, this one in Jahunda.
After that, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces headed for Pelandaba Stadium where the multitudes sang along to Mbare Chimurenga Choir’s “Jongwe rinorira rimwechete/Kukhala inqhude elilodwa kuphela”.
The revolutionary leader then went round the stadium as he interacted with the multitude of party supporters.
Senior ruling party officials, among them Vice-Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mpoko, sang and swayed to the singing.
Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, VP Mnangagwa complained of feeling unwell and was attended to by Health Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa before taking his leave early.
In his address, President Mugabe said the huge turnout spoke volumes about Zanu-PF’s prospects in the 2018 harmonised elections.
He said, “…tiri kuenda kumaelections ka, 2018. Mukabuda makadai kuprovince, muchienda kunovoter, MDC ingawane chii? Munotsvaira ka, kutsvaira kunonzi kutsvaira nebroom.
“Ngatitsvaireyi this time, tione kuti vachazoenda kupi zvekubatanidza izvi.
“Chero riri bhurugwa rabvaruka, ungaramba uchingoisa chigamba panechimwe? Rinogumisira raakurema ka. Rinorema imiwee.
“Taizviona kudhara vanhu vachiri varombo, voisa chigamba. Pawaisa ipapo pobvaruka futi, woona bhurugwa raakunge sefo.
“So, zvigamba hazviite VaTsvangirai imi! Let them try anything they can do.”
The President went on: “Chipanga, the work you have done today, you did yesterday and the day before must continue. We must cover all the provinces.
“Tichaenda, tichasvika kumadhorobha were our youths will require tremendous assistance.
“Ivowo varimumadhorobha vachiona zvakadai, vanoti chii? Manenji?
“Vanhu vanoda musangano wavo; vakabatana. Tinodakutenda nerukudzo rwamurikutipa, asi tifambire mberi, tibatane, tibatane, tibatane.
“Vakuru; Central Committee, Politiburo members – very busy. They have done marvellous work. We thank them a lot. Ini ndinoda kukutendai.”
President Mugabe said as Zimbabwe marked Heroes Day this week, it was incumbent on all citizens to safeguard what liberation fighters fought for – the land.
He also called for equitable distribution of land, saying the reality of some people holding large tracts whilst others had nothing was unpalatable.
Zanu-PF’s First Secretary outlined the work his Government was doing to improve livelihoods, and thanked the nation for standing resolute in the face of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries opposed to the revolutionary Land Reform Programme.
“You have supported us, supported me. You continue to support Government in spite of the sanctions.
“So, here we are: massive yields of maize. Freedom, now, to do our own mining and get our gold, diamonds, our platinum, our chrome and other products. Freedom, now, to do our programmes using our own resources.
“We are going to do open our roads. We are going to do what we can to improve our railway system. Zvese ndozvezvimwe zvatiri kuzoita iwo mazuva ari kuuya ayo.
“Ndege dzedu padzangadzati mbombo, tiri kuedza zvakare and we are succeeding in trying to improve our airways.
“Saka, nzira nhatu idzi dzekufamba nadzo; they are going to be improved.
“Not in 10 years, but in two/three years, you will see change. Change, which will also bring enjoyment for our youth. Mabasa achange ariko, so we must not give up.
“Asi tinenge tichiti imi mutibatsire. You must have the necessary skills; develop your skills. Regai kuneta kufunda.”
President Mugabe reiterated his long-standing call for unity at all levels of the party.
“And the leaders must ensure that they are not divided because most of the divisions that we hear about within the party, provincial structures, seem to come from above,” he said.