MDC quota demand gains traction

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC should accept the concept of youth and women’s quotas to enhance democracy and nurture future leaders, deputy national chairperson Morgan Komichi has said.

Komichi warned that MDC risked falling in the Zanu PF trap of being led by geriatrics in the future if it spurns young politicians.

“It is now an open secret that our youths are demanding a 25 percent representation in all structures and personally I believe it is a progressive concept,” he said.

“Given their contribution to the democratic struggle, they deserve it. It is not only about the youths but also women. Our constitution is explicit on the women issue and we need to increase their representation in both houses in the next elections,” said Komichi.

Komichi’s open support of the youth is likely to ruffle some feathers within the party, amid reports that the majority of sitting MDC legislators are facing stiff competition from emerging youths as the party’s primary elections loom.

“There are misconceptions out there with people viewing youths as irresponsible but we have the example of Nelson Chamisa, who has been given massive party and government responsibilities and has done exceptionally well,” he said.

“Despite their shortcomings, King Mswati of Swaziland, Joseph Kabila of DRC, are examples of youthful leaders who have been given huge national responsibilities. We can do the same if we hold their hands and show them. It is a process of leadership renewal that is necessary for our future sustenance.

“We should not look further than our counterparts in Zanu PF. They now find themselves in a very sticky situation because of failing to accept the youths,” said Komichi.

MDC youths have been agitating for representation in party and government structures since the party’s national congress two years ago, with calls now reaching fever pitch as the country moves closer to watershed elections expected this year.

Deputy youth assembly president Costa Machingauta, who has been at the forefront of the fight for the quota system, yesterday lauded Komichi, calling him a “progressive leader”.

“He is one of our best leaders who realises that they will not be there forever and we appreciate his support,” Machingauta.

“Although we have not formally approached the party we will be doing so soon and our hopes have been raised with the messages coming from one of the highest offices in the party.”

Komichi confirmed the youths were yet to approach the party officially.

“I am aware though that they have not approached the leadership formally but they have been doing a lot of work.

“The modalities need to be worked out and the party should be able to accommodate their demands and afford them the chance to lead now,” he said.

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