HARARE -MDC Alliance youths say they will respond to a clampdown by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government by mobilising supporters to vote in large numbers in forthcoming elections.
Lately, there has been a crackdown on most of the outspoken MDC Alliance youths with several of them either in prison or on bail pending trial.
These include Harare West legislator Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri.
Makomborero Haruzivishe, another firebrand opposition youth, began serving a 14-month prison term last week for instigating public violence.
The other youths languishing behind bars on similar charges are Tinashe Bwanaisa, Rakeshi Marufu, Collin Paison, Tafara Mafunde, Farai Chidziva and Trust Nyamado.
These developments have largely been described by analysts as a ploy to tame the country’s biggest opposition party.
However, MDC Alliance national youth spokesperson Stephen Sarkozy Chuma said the party was far from being immobilised.
“We are going deep right into rural areas recruiting new voices for change,” Chuma said.
“Through our vehicle, the one million youth campaign, we will have an already mobilised and radicalised youth ready to defend their vote.
“Recently our teams were in places like Mupata, Gutu and Makungubwe in Masvingo province sowing seeds of a pro-poor and pro-people revolution.”
Chuma said the ‘persecution’ of the youths had hardened those that remain outside the prisons.
“By persecuting our members through prosecution, Emmerson Mnangagwa is dancing on political quicksand,” he said.
“The crackdown on our members is a clear incitement of violence by the state and it will not end well”.
“Young people are already fed up with this corrupt regime, which has presided over economic collapse and unemployment, hence we cannot afford further provocation in the form of politically motivated arrests and convictions.”
When Chamisa failed to attend the court session that saw the sentencing of Haruzivishe, there was an outcry on social media that he was leaving the restive youths fighting for change on their own.
Others said it showed he was weak and a coward.
But Chuma shot back and defended Chamisa.
“The mendacious view that president Nelson Chamisa deserted youths by not attending Mako’s court is purely malicious and a black market narrative from Zanu PF’s varakashi (bashers),” he said
“MDC Alliance is not a one-man band, hence we cannot expect our president to be omnipresent.
“He was well represented at court by other standing committee members, hence his absence is not an issue.”