No to economic genocide: MDC-T youths

via No to economic genocide: MDC-T youths – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2015

POLITICAL upheavals and endless faction wars within the main opposition MDC-T party led by Morgan Tsvangirai have, over the past decade, led to the formation of at least three major breakaway factions, with the MDC Renewal Team being the latest. NewsDay’s Mashonaland East correspondent Jairos Saunyama (ND) recently interviewed the MDC-T national youth leader Happymore Chidziva (HC), who spoke on various issues including how they had managed to cope with the breakaways to current economic hardships and plans laid down by his party to turn around the economy and eventually topple the Zanu PF regime from power.

ND: Since taking over from (former youth leader) Solomon Madzore, do you think you have managed to steer the ship given that MDC-T is a big political party?

HC: The challenges have been many, but I have managed to keep the assembly intact and focused. Certainly yes, I have made remarkable achievements with regard to bringing the movement together after that disturbing split. Under such circumstances it wasn’t easy to ensure the full regrouping of the troops, but now I can safely say we are on track and we have restored confidence within the citizenry. Bringing the people together was our first port of call and now that we achieved that, we are now geared for greater things including taking this country from the hands of the Zanu PF regime.

ND: Your party has lost a number of key founding members, including influential youth members, some formed splinter parties and, according to some critics, you have become weaker. Do you think the MDC-T still has the pedigree and muscle to challenge President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections?

HC: We have actually emerged stronger than before. We have managed to take those sad developments as a learning phase and also managed to introspect. Politics is all about numbers and let me assure you that in terms of numbers our party is far ahead beyond any comparison hence the suppositions that we have become weaker are baseless, and therefore should be dismissed. Our vibrancy remains unquestionable and is growing each day. Zimbabweans know their leader and no amount of propaganda and greediness in some of our colleagues whom we parted with can weaken the people’s movement. We might have lost some members yes, but we did not lose the following and above all we also managed to fill the gaps created. MDC-T is an organisation, which values team work.

Our organisation is a grassroots-based party. The youth assembly is now stronger than it has ever been. We do not believe in individuals, but the power of collectivism. Individuals may have left, but we, as a party, have absorbed, recollected, mobilised and refocused towards building the party than counting our losses.

ND: And the recent issue of vendors, your party has been accused of capitalising on the situation, fuelling conflict in the process. What is your take on that?

HC: Accusations remain accusations. We never capitalised on the situation as many misguided people would want to believe. It’s common knowledge that Zimbabweans know where their problems are emanating from. They know that Zanu PF has created vendors due to its failure to create employment, so when one raises such genuine concerns he or she is quickly labelled MDC-T.

ND: More than 20 000 people have lost jobs after the July 17 Supreme Court ruling. As a labour movement, how do you feel about the massive job loses?

HC: We feel this is a declaration of war against our generation by the (President Robert) Mugabe regime because it is meant to disadvantage us. Job losses mean the child will suffer. Who pays our school fees? Who will buy us food? Why did they legislate such that the third generation will not get allowances and pension?
This is a signal of an economic genocide, which must be met with massive resistance. As youths we are mobilising to invade the streets and turn them into our second home.

ND: What about the fact that Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T), who is also a lawyer, played a part in the Supreme Court decision?

HC: Chamisa was just an observer. Furthermore, the law which Zanu PF continues to ride on was not written by Chamisa.

ND: The party has been lobbying for electoral reforms and Tsvangirai said he will not participate in the next elections if there are no electoral reforms, do you think it’s advisable for him to boycott the next polls?

HC: I concur with the party leadership’s uncompromising stance on electoral reforms, it’s not Tsvangirai’s position, but we all believe in that .We cannot continue participating in flawed processes. We will do all possible to make sure reforms have been factored in before the next elections and to Zimbabweans we say be confident, we will make it happen. We strongly advocate for electoral reforms because it’s not a secret we won the 2008 elections, but due to a flawed electoral system and process we found ourselves wanting.

ND: The MDC-T has been on the forefront pressurising Mugabe and the Zanu PF government to release missing activist-cum journalist Itai Dzamara. As the youths, what is your next move now that Dzamara is yet to be found?

HC: We will continue fighting for his release. Actually a mosquito cannot be sent to cure malaria, and as such the perpetrators cannot be sent to look for someone they abducted. We are joining others in prayers and we urge all Zimbabweans to rise and demand Itai back dead or alive. We are planning more street protests. We are going to mobilise more people into the streets until the Mugabe regime, which is responsible for the disappearance of Itai Dzamara, releases him. We will actually make city streets our second home.

ND: Is Dzamara an MDC-T member?

HC: Dzamara is a human rights activist, as MDC-T youth assembly we are in solidarity with all progressive people and organisations who believe Mugabe must pave way for progressive leadership. The next demonstration is coming, we can’t discuss dates and time, but we will hit the streets soon and in numbers.

ND: Of late holding demonstrations has been impossible and difficult as police have been thwarting your efforts, how are you going to do that?

HC: Of course criminalisation of demonstrations has become a permanent feature in our society. It is expected from Mugabe who is trying so hard to cling on to power by all means. We never expected anything less, but let me tell you that such will not, in any way, kill the fighting spirit which is deeply inculcated in us. No amount of intimidation and torture will derail us. A new Zimbabwe is inevitable and we are determined to fight for it even in the face of such societal evils. Demonstrations are a constitutional right and no one should stand in the way of people when exercising their constitutional rights. The police are overstepping their authority and clearly operating as a Zanu PF commissariat. The Constitution simply requires us to notify the police and not seek authority to demonstrate. We would appreciate if they become more professional and stick to their professional mandate and leave politics to politicians. We are, however, not going to give up in defending our constitutional mandate.