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Luke-ing the Beast in the Eye: The youth must raise the bar

Today is Youth Day, the Day of the African Child. June 16 is the day when we pay tribute to those whose veins are still throbbing with copious blood (vanotemwa dzinobuda ropa).

In Zimbabwe, the day comes at a time when Zanu PF has sent out very visible signals that they are preparing to mete out violence against the citizens, given the imminent defeat that stares at them in 2023.

Given that background of the violence that the Zanu PF machinery wants to roll out against the citizens in the wake of Mukomana’s rising popularity, Zimbabwe’s youths must prepare to protect parents and communities.

The callous murders of Nyasha Zhambe and Mboneni Ncube as well as the recent abduction and brutal murder of Moreblessings Ali is certainly a harbinger of bloodier times to come.

This time violence will not work because the citizens are united. The citizens will defend themselves. The citizens are exuberant. The citizens are winners and this time the citizens will overcome.

And because it is the citizens who are truly sovereign, anything and anyone who pit themselves against a determined citizenry can only come second best. They will dismally fail against a united citizenry across political parties and across religious faiths that is so determined to win Zimbabwe for change in 2023.

That Zanu PF is preparing for violence is no fluke. In my rural hood of Domboshava last Sunday, Zanu PF’s Bonnie Mutize and other provincial leaders called a meeting of war veterans and war collaborators and told them to prepare for violence.

They were explicit that without violence, Zanu PF will be defeated next year. Mutize even bought drinks and bread for the hundreds of war veterans and war collaborators who convened at the Showgrounds community hall while he later took the VIPs for lunch at his own business complex at the same Showgrounds shopping centre.

Given the imminent violence, the youths of this country must raise the bar and protect our parents in the wake of the Zanu PF violence demon. But I have news for Mutize and his party. This is not 2008 and this time the majority will not flee into the mountains when violence from the minority visits them.

This time the citizens will stand to protect themselves. It is in light of this background that I republish my piece last year in which I exhorted the young generation to rise to the challenge.

Today, on this Youth Day, I urge the youths to raise the bar by protecting our parents and communities as well as voting in their huge numbers so that next year, we consign this violent party to the dustbins where it rightfully belongs.

An exhortation for Zimbabwe’s Youth

The census figures will yet again confirm that the youth as a demographic group constitute the majority of the country’s population.

As we stand on the cusp of the decisive phase of our democratic struggle, this generation whose future has been squandered by the clueless and corrupt elite in government must stand up and play a more prominent role in positively shaping their lived circumstances and their future.

Throughout history and across jurisdictions, it is the youth that have stood up to the mediocrity of their time and engendered truly new dispensations that infused a renewed sense of hope about the future.

Across the world, young people have always been the torch-bearers in the unstinting quest for freedom, democracy, decency and dignity.

It was the young people in Zimbabwe that took up arms and confronted the colonial Ian Smith regime. But times have changed. Today’s youth may have to robustly use other arsenal such as the soft power of their Twitter and blog universe to express their utmost revulsion against the deteriorating human rights and governance system in the country.

In Tunisia in 2011, it was 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi who ignited the revolution that reaped a democratic dividend for an entire sub-region.

On January 14 the same year, dictator Ben Ali had no choice but to flee to Saudi Arabia. It was equally these young people that led similarly popular but morally legitimate protests in Yemen, Jordan, Algeria and Oman in what became popularly known as the Arab Spring.

On January 25 2011, droves of mainly young people numbering about 50 000 poured into Tahrii Square in downtown Cairo in a huge mass protest against Hosni Mubarak.

It was similarly audacious young men and women who perished for a legitimate quest at Sharpeville in apartheid South Africa. It was the same revolutionary generation that tore down the Berlin Wall. It was young people that stoically stood before the armed taunt at Tiananmen Square in China in June 1989.

The youth have always been a revolutionary generation; a generation that neither accepts nor tolerates killer regimes such as the illegitimate lot in Harare — a regime dripping in the blood of innocent citizens. An autocracy that has captured all institutions of the State as part of a wicked, sinister and morally reprehensible plot to decimate the legitimate opposition in the country.

In Zimbabwe, the young generation of short skirts and sagging jeans must step up to the plate. The short skirts are reflective of the shortened life expectancy and the short-sightedness of their leaders, if not the abundant opportunities that have skirted the young generation. And it is not just their jeans that are sagging, but their hopes and aspirations as well!

For the youth of this country, the horizon has been misted by a clueless government that couped its way into office amid a false clamour of creating jobs under the equally false mantra of “Zimbabwe is open for business”. And yet the country is shut for hope — with the only jobs created being those for Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tribesmen and tribeswomen from Masvingo and the Midlands provinces.

As I have said before, even the staggered, choreographed defections have a tribal and regional flavour to them. Obert Gutu, a Karanga of the Madyirapazhe totem who comes from the Gutu area of Masvingo and James Makore, of Mnangagwa’s Shumba Murambwi totem and who like him also comes from Chivi, defected from Douglas Mwonzora’s surrogate and treacherous MDC-T outfit to Zanu PF.

Mwonzora’s outfit is essentially Zanu PF and one wonders what the “defection” hype was all about. You don’t defect from Zanu PF to join Zanu PF. Not so much of a defection there — in the same way that any shift from the lounge to the bedroom of the same house should never be misconstrued as a relocation.

Indeed, even the defections are tribalistic and nepotistic, further betraying the primitive and base instincts of the man who pilfered his way to State House.

The youth of this country must rise to the challenge. They must confront this dictatorship within the confines permissible under our national Constitution. As they say, the real problem in troubled countries such as ours has never been civil disobedience.

The real problem that needs tackling has been civil obedience to autocracy, nay the acquiescence and sheepish succumbing to the murderous traits of this piranha, blood-soaked political elite that has murdered and repressed citizens since November 2017.

Civil disobedience through a loud, deafening expression of revulsion channeled through peaceful protests is certainly permissible under section 59 of the Constitution.

It is not the aim of this treatise to be contemptuous of the effort and gallantry of today’s youth. This is an exhortation for them to do far much more.

The youth of this country have bravely borne the brunt of this blood-soaked regime. Tawanda Muchehiwa, Obey Sithole, Gift Ostallos Siziba, Takudzwa Ngadziore, Stephen “Sakorzy” Tshuma, Makomborero Haruzivishe, Allan Moyo, the CCC trio of Joannah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova and several other youth throughout the country have been in the eye of the storm.

But they must certainly go beyond the puny effort of isolated individuals. It must be a monumental seismic shift spawned by an entire generation. The situation in Zimbabwe now demands a peaceful but sonorous expression by an entire demographic group.

As a generation and not as scattered individuals, the youth of this country must rise to the level of — and even surpass the magnitude of — the grievous national challenges authored by the voluminous mediocrity and illegitimacy now engulfing the entire body politic.

The youth of this country must not listen to a lying regime that has captured all State institutions, uses paid surrogates to recall elected representatives and peddles the mistruth that it values the next generation and yet saddles that same generation with huge debts.

In the case of Zimbabwe, the regime will bequeath to the next generation a ballooning but astounding external debt that currently stands in excess of US$14 billion.

An analogue regime of geriatrics will never understand the demands of the Twitter and blog generation. They are too old to address the concerns of a generation still favoured with boundless energy and enthusiasm. A generation whose veins are copiously throbbing restless blood.

Zanu PF has always operated outside the orbit of this generation of boundless energy and hope. Towards the election of 2013, I joked with the late MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai, then the Prime Minister, when I intimated to him that had he been in Zanu PF, he would have been a member of the party’s youth league.

I said this because when Tsvangirai contested the 2013 election as a 61-year-old leader of his party, his age-mate Absolom Sikhosana was the leader of the Zanu PF youth league and represented the digital generation’s interests in the party’s politburo.

A dinosaural party with such proclivities is certainly caught up in a time warp and can never understand the demands of today’s generation. Indeed, Zanu PF is a party living outside its moment like a typewriter in an Internet cafe’!

Indeed, and as the illustrious Tsvangirai used to say: “Yesterday’s people cannot solve today’s problems.

Today’s problems need today’s people. ”

And Zanu PF and its leaders are certainly yesterday’s people who can never muster enough knowledge to steer and manage a modern economy.

Only recently, the citizens’ champion Advocate Nelson Chamisa, himself a doyen of today’s crop of dynamic leaders, presented his party’s agenda for the year and set the tone for the major political business of this year.

It was an address that spawned trepidation across the corridors of stolen power and invited all sorts of invective — including even laughable threats of arrest.

In that address, the people’s president said in the year 2021, all citizens will be converging for change. He spoke of a broad front of collective citizen-led effort to tackle the challenges of our time. He spoke of a robust but peaceful, constitutional and legitimate programme in which the youth will play a decisive part.

The people’s champion said the youth have an important role to play in the citizens’ convergence for change agenda. President Chamisa even made reference to the late Father Zimbabwe, the iconic Joshua Nkomo’s speech in which the liberation stalwart said the youth will ultimately save Zimbabwe and will not allow it to die.

We have now reached the penultimate stage where, if need be, it must be us the people and not the country that must die.

After all, it is the youth that have become seriously prejudiced by the ineptitude of this our scarfed regime. It is the youth that have turned to drugs and other addictive substances to seek an “escape” from their tenuous lived circumstance.

We have become a country of degreed vendors and graduate small-time traders. In return, the corrupt elite in government is nowhere to be seen when it comes to addressing the concerns and grievances of this victim generation, turning up only to shed crocodile tears when popular youths die as as they did at the funerals of dancehall musician Soul Jah Love and actress Anne Nhira.

The purpose is always to score cheap political points.

For God’s sake, the youth of this country want State-assisted opportunities in their lifetime, not State-assisted funerals at their deaths! For ours has become a mortuary government — a wicked funeral home that turns up to shed crocodile tears at the funerals of its victims.

The regime has presided over the collapse of basic social services such as health and education. Soul Jah Love needed a functioning health institution to attend to his diabetic condition when he was still alive while Nhira had fled to South Africa to fend for opportunities in a foreign land.

It is telling that she was murdered while coming from a prayer in the mountain in South Africa, having to seek divine intervention in her parlous lived circumstances.

And this piece is not meant to incite anyone. It is simply a proposition to give insight. In any case, it is not criminal to incite a repressed people to exercise their democratic right by seeking succour and sanatorium in section 59 of a people’s Constitution that they wrote themselves and affirmed in a referendum.

It does not help that sometimes the youth have collectively become lily-livered when it comes to confronting this regime, choosing only to turn up in their huge numbers and siege Harare central business district to mourn and view the coffin of my distant relative, Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure, my dear brother from my hood in Domboshava while dismally failing to crowd the cities in similar fashion to vent out their grievances against the scarfed regime of Mr Mnangagwa — a regime that has dismally failed their generation.

A government that has made them hewers of wood and drawers of water both in their own motherland and in foreign lands where they are slugging it out to earn a living.

As a generation, the youth of this country must rise to the moment. Collectively, the despondent youth of my land must soar to the magnitude of the challenges impeding and blighting them from inheriting a bright future. The rest of the citizenry will support their patriotic effort to safeguard their future.

The responsibility to defend the future must mainly lie in those that are genuine stockholders in that future — the youth of this land.

It is none but themselves.

Luke Tamborinyoka is a citizen from Domboshava and a change champion in the Citizens Coalition for Change ( CCC ). Tamborinyoka is an award – winning journalist and an ardent political scientist. You can interact with him on his facebook page or via the twitter handle @luke_tambo.

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