Target youth, rural electorate: Mliswa

OUTSPOKEN former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman and Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy (Yard) leader, Temba Mliswa has urged opposition parties to target youths and the rural electorate if they entertain any hope of dislodging the ruling Zanu PF party in the 2018 elections.

Source: Target youth, rural electorate: Mliswa – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 6, 2016

by Albert Masaka

Addressing hundreds of youths gathered for a Youth Forum Zimbabwe public meeting in Chitungwiza last Thursday, Mliswa said rural voters constituted 72% of the country’s six million registered voters.

“Of the six million registered voters 72% are in the rural areas, so if we are to talk of the end game now, for as long as we do not penetrate the rural areas and we don’t talk to them, the status quo is preserved,” he said.

Mliswa urged youths to defend their vote in 2018, adding that his pressure group, had identified four critical issues needed to dislodge Zanu PF using the ballot box. He said these included massive voter education, registration, inspection of the voters’ roll and voting en masse.

“In 2018, you must defend your vote. I don’t have to like (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai, but I have respect for him because he is courageous. I used to see images of him being beaten up. He is a champion of democracy,” he said.

Mliswa also said the 2008 elections debacle, where Zanu PF allegedly stole the vote, should be a wake-up call to all opposition parties to remain vigilant and defend their vote in the forthcoming polls.

“(ZimPF elder Didymus) Mutasa comes out clearly, as a [former] senior of the party [Zanu PF] and former Minister of State Security and says Morgan Tsvangirai won in 2008.

“My question is to those who voted for Morgan Tsvangirai. What did you do? Did you want Tsvangirai to go to the streets alone? In 2018, if the results are not what we expect, we should march. Moving forward we must defend our vote . . . the young people must defend the vote not mothers,” he said.

Mliswa strongly spoke against imposition of candidates by all political parties, saying this contributed to voter apathy and stifled democracy.

“It starts with primary elections at party level, where they impose candidates on people, That’s why I don’t belong to any political party anymore.”