Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zanu PF’s ageless youth leader won’t quit

By Maggie Mzumara

HARARE – Absolom Sikhosana, the sixty-something ZANU PF Youth League leader sandwiched by several young political leaders from the southern African region.

Oppah Muchinguri (left) seen here with Grace Mugabe (centre) and Zanu PF "Youth" Chairman Absolom Sikhosana
Oppah Muchinguri (left) seen here with Grace Mugabe (centre) and Zanu PF “Youth” Chairman Absolom Sikhosana

ZANU-PF’s Politburo member, Absolom Sikhosana, whose continued presence at the helm of the Youth League when he himself, at 62, is decades past the age limit of that wing, has mortified many who are clamouring for him to go, saying he was not going anywhere.

Sikhosana has been secretary for youth affairs for 15 years, leading the ruling party’s Youth League whose age limit is 35 years. Many feel that at his age he is too old to relate to the youth, or to articulate their aspirations.

“I am not going anywhere kusvika mayouth aita right (until the youth are good and ready),” Sikhosana told the Financial Gazette. The chorus for him to go has been gaining momentum with people within and without the ruling party saying it is time there was leadership renewal at the helm of the Youth League.

“If the party is serious about the Youth League at all, there must be a renewal of leadership in that wing. How can this old man continue to represent the youths as if no one amongst the youth can take up the reins? There are plenty of youthful leaders within the party to fill that post and they can do it with more vigour than this old man,” said a ZANU-PF youth member who spoke on condition of anonymity.

People from opposition parties have also scoffed at Sikhosana’s leadership of the youths.

“What is that man still doing in the Youth League? Is that party serious?” asked a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) activist, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Sikhosana is adamant he is the right person for the job and said that he paid no attention to those calling for him to go.

“I have no problem with those people who are clamouring for me to go. I don’t pay attention to them because they don’t understand how as ZANU –PF we run our affairs. We do our things differently that is why we have stability in our party unlike in other parties where there is chaos,” he said.

As the ruling party heads for its elective congress, the hope among those that spoke to the Financial Gazette is that the ZANU-PF leader, President Robert Mugabe, considers removing Sikhosana and appointing a new and younger youth boss. “I will not go unless the President wills it. If the President as the commander gives me that order, I will oblige but not if those calls come from any other quarter,” Sikhosana said.

This is not the first time that the “Sikhosana must go” chorus has been sung. For more than five years, the hymn has gained traction. “What is the issue with my age?” Sikhosana asked. “How does it (my age) assume the status of being a national issue? I am feeling much younger, stronger and raring to go.”

The Youth League boss believes his mission is not yet done. His brief, he told the Financial Gazette, is to ensure that the youths become patriotic, learn to love their country and to celebrate the sacrifices that were made for the liberation of this country.

“I will continue leading the youth until we are totally and economically free,” Sikhosana said.

“I want the youths to be proud of their country; to know that they should not allow anyone else coming from wherever even America, to say they are the owners of the Zimbabwe at their expense.”

The youths must shun being used those parties with a western agenda. And they must know that democracy is about people taking their own fate into their own hands. Democracy is not determined by America,” he said.

“I also want the youths in the elections of 2018 to teach the fake parties in this country the lesson that it is dangerous to betray the liberation struggle,” Sikhosana declared, without specifying how this particular lesson would be imparted. Financial Gazette