MDC in Norton campaign

HARARE - Opposition MDC youths take their door-to-door campaign to Norton today, as they move to urge party members to register as voters ahead of next year’s election.

The party’s national youth assembly president, Happymore Chidziva, told the Daily News yesterday that the programme — Bereka Mwana Tiende —  launched last month in Harare by MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa is crucial in urging young people to play an active role in national politics.

Chidziva said they are convinced that once they manage to mobilise all youths eligible to vote, “Zanu PF will be thrown into the political catacombs” come 2018’s crunch plebiscite.

“We are taking the Bereka Mwana  Tiende campaign to Chitungwiza province where we are launching it in Norton constituency and I can tell you we are making real progress as we are engaging the youths at a personal level I can promise you, next year will be an election with a difference,” he said.

The MDC campaign comes at a time relations between the party and independent Norton MP Temba Mliswa, who they campaigned for, have turned sour after the motor-mouth legislator claimed that he owes his victory to war veterans instead, amid fears that the opposition youths would use the event as an opportunity to lampoon him.

But Mliswa told the Daily News that the MDC move to visit his constituency is a “welcome development since youths constitute 60 percent of the population”.

“This is the right time to educate the youths on the need to participate in elections and we have been saying that even in Yard, whose membership also includes MDC youths, hence their initiative is a welcome development in their quest to take over as the next government,” he said, adding “that is the only way to go”.

On his part, Chidziva said the MDC had no gripe with Mliswa, arguing that “as a national party we concentrate more on issues that affect the nation not individuals”.

“We are not at war with Mliswa but Zanu PF and (President) Robert Mugabe. We have no issues whatsoever with the Norton legislator hence is not on our agenda.

“We are more worried about youths’ non-participation in national politics. We want all who will be eligible to vote next year; those that were born at a time when the MDC was formed in 1999 can now vote hence they are our target. We are not going to Norton for political fights with the likes of Mliswa,” he said.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has since gone full steam with campaigns to educate members of the public on the much-debated Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise, as the much-anticipated national elections fast approach.

The campaigns also come amid claims by the MDC that it has gathered “overwhelming information” that Zec has allocated more BVR points in rural areas than urban areas — raising fears of plans to frustrate urban voters.

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