Zimbabwe: ‘Youth League Can Mobilise 5m Votes’

There was successful power transfer in the Zanu PF Youth league executive last week, a clear affirmation that democracy exists in the ruling party.

It was a historical moment at the 7th Zanu PF National Youth Conference, where delegates witnessed a smooth transfer of power, from the outgoing National Youth League executive members to the newly elected executive.

The outgoing acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau presented a report, a guideline to the new youth league executive members led by the newly elected deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde John Paradza. The report was endorsed by the party leadership.

The youth conference was meant to consolidate intra party unity and democracy, while also serving as a building block to party rejuvenation, modernisation and growth.

Our Senior Reporter Joseph Madzimure (JM) caught up with the outgoing Zanu PF acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau (TC) to give an insight into the successful transfer of power to the new executive and what the future holds.


JM: How do you feel to relinquish power to the new executive led by John Paradza?

TC: We are happy with the internal democratic process which was shown within the ruling party Zanu PF. The internal democratic process resulted in an election and as you are aware, the process started at districts level, provinces and ultimately to the national level.

Members were also required to submit Curriculum Vitaes, so we are happy that we have a system in place and it has to be followed. We are satisfied with the process.

JM: Is it the first time to have a smooth transition in the youth league?

TC: Most importantly what I want to highlight is that of late there was no clear system which was put on paper. We are happy that the system put in place by President Mnangagwa under the Second Republic ensures that the voting process is open to everyone willing to contest as long as they met the prescribed guidelines. That is why we ended up having more than 155 contestants for the 40 posts. So the process started in the provinces where there was stiff competition. After the elective process, they were then required to apply for the posts they wanted according to their ranking and this was done.

JM: How many candidates applied for the position of the deputy secretary for Youth Affairs?

TC: There was only one candidate who submitted the CV, Honourable Paradza. The credit goes to the leadership of the party especially President Mnangagwa who is the First Secretary of the party who guides us to ensure that whatever we do in the New Dispensation, we follow a systematic way of doing things. As you are aware, I was the Acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs representing the youth in the Politburo. The election of the new executive meant that it is our duty now to do a hand over and takeover exercise with the new executive.

It meant that our term came to an end. I am now 36. We are trying by all means to ensure that we do a smooth handover and takeover. So as we speak Cde Paradza is heading the youth league in his capacity as the Deputy Secretary. President Mnangagwa will appoint the Secretary for Youth Affairs at a time he deems it fit.

JM: Can you tell us about your relationship with your successor Cde Paradza?

TC: I want to tell Zimbabweans that Cde Paradza is now in charge of the Youth Affairs. My relationship with Cde Paradza is that we are brothers, we are cadres. You cannot be a youth leader for ever. For the post of the deputy secretary for Youth Affairs it was prescribed that it is for those who are 35 years old and below.

This had to be adhered to from the district, provincial and national elections. I am now 36 and no longer qualify. All the people who contested are 35 years and below.

JM: Tell us about the process of handing over power?

TC: On the issue of succession, we believe that it is the same party that gives direction.

I presented a report to the party leadership which was endorsed. The report will direct the youth league.

We share our notes and they should also have learnt from our mistakes in-order to do better.

I am convinced that the new leadership has the zeal, energy, vision and is able to mobilise the youth in social, political and economic affairs of the country.

Most importantly we need to mobilise the much needed 5 million votes for His Excellency President Mnangagwa and the revolutionary party Zanu PF.

JM: In the previous years, we have seen quite a number of Zanu PF youth executive members being expelled from the party for various misdemeanors. Names that easily come to mind include former deputy secretary for youth Affairs Cdes Kudzanayi Chipanga and Lewis Matutu. What is your message to the new executive?

TC: They have to understand that the Youth league is a wing of the party. They do not operate outside the parameters of the main wing of the party.

The party has clear guidelines of how to do to things. Misguided activism has no room within the revolutionary movement.

There are platforms for raising concerns whenever there are challenges. Such platforms are not the media.

They have got the platforms, they need to direct their grievances if any within the structures of the party, be it Central committee, Politburo and provincial co-ordinating Committees. You express your grievances there. As young people we should always learn from the youths of the 1970s. The leaders that we have today were youths in the 1970s and they understand how this revolution came about. So we believe in the concepts of general blending and co-operation were young people have to work together. There is no room for misguided activism, our leaders listen and they have got ears for the young people. Our leaders are willing to engage and listen to whatever we want.

JM: Now that you have graduated to the main wing, what is your next assignment?

TC: It is about generation blending, where the young and old people work together.

I am happy with what His Excellency President Mnangagwa and Politburo has done to us by allowing those graduating from the youth league to be elevated to the Central Committee. We are ready to work for the party.

We believe that the issue of leadership positions is not a right, but they are actually bonuses. If one gets a position, it is a bonus.

We are going to continue mobilising for the party as members of the Central Committee.

The 40 outgoing executive members including the former provincial chairpersons for Mashonaland East and West Cde Kelvin Mutsvairo, Vengai Musengi among others are also going to be part of the Central Committee. We are going to work tirelessly guided by the party leadership.


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