Kasukuwere pleads for peace

HARARE - Indigenisation and Youth minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has promised tough action against violence in his constituency saying Zanu PF must win freely and fairly.

Kasukuwere, the secretary for indigenisation in the Zanu PF politburo, said this in the wake of passionate and emotional pleas by villagers who are scrambling for party cards ahead of promised polls this year.

Villagers said Zanu PF cards were the only sure way of avoiding violence by militant party youths.

At a meeting at Mombeshora Farm 638 under Mukaradzi district, villagers in Mt Darwin, told Kasukuwere they wanted more party cards.

The Daily News attended the meeting.

“Comrade minister, can you ensure that we get lots of party cards so that all our members get them ahead of these elections. We do not want to have problems with the youths as happened during previous elections because they did not allow us to move freely without party cards,” Zanu PF Mt Darwin South women’s league district chair Sakile Ndlovu said at the meeting.

But Kasukuwere warned that Zanu PF would deal with its youths if they engaged in violence.

“Our party has been very clear on violence. I condemn it. Why should we do that even to our political opponents, you rather show them why Zanu PF is the best. You should peacefully educate those without knowledge,” said Kasukuwere.“There is no excuse for violence. Perpetrators of violence will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.

The party, at its national conference held in December, launched new electronic cards with colour codes identifying its different membership.

It is unclear whether the fee will remain at one dollar each and how much the party rakes in from the sales.

In the last election, Zanu PF membership cards became an equal substitute for national identity documents in many districts and a prerequisite for getting access to agriculture inputs that were denied to supporters of the MDC.

Those without Zanu PF cards were harassed and maimed by party militia bolstered by state security agents, according to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party and civil society groups which observed the elections.

At the weekend, Kasukuwere insisted that supporters should campaign peacefully, saying they should desist from violence in line with President Robert Mugabe’s recent call for a clean election at last year’s party annual conference in Gweru.

Zimbabwe is likely to go for elections this year but there are no fixed dates yet as the coalition government sweats over a new constitution, widely regarded as a foundation towards a free and fair election.

Like Mugabe, Kasukuwere told the villagers in Mt Darwin that elections will go ahead with or without a new constitution.

“We want elections as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the forthcoming election was a crucial opportunity for Zimbabweans to “defend” their country. - Wendy Muperi

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