MDC ring-fences constituencies for youths

HARARE - The mainstream MDC has called to order senior party members who are eyeing constituencies that have been reserved for members of its youth assembly.

The party has reserved at least 20 percent of the contested seats, at both local authority and parliamentary levels, for young people.

But with elections fast approaching around July/August this year, senior MDC members are defying the party’s leadership by throwing their hats into the ring in those constituencies.

These include Francis Mangwendeza who is set to battle it out against  youth assembly secretary for elections, Kunashe Muchemwa, in Bulawayo South; businessman Asani Tembo will square up against sitting Member of Parliament for Chitungwiza North, Godfrey Sithole, and Pikirai Gutuza who has set his sights on Bikita West, setting himself up against youth assembly member, Kudakwashe Bhadharai.

MDC national chairperson Morgen Komichi told the Daily News yesterday that senior members must respect the party.

“I call upon the MDC-T to respect their constitution and the decision of the party…the constituencies which were reserved for youths must be left for youths,” Komichi said.

MDC youths are urging the party to block the senior party members, with youth assembly chairperson Happymore Chidziva calling on the leadership to stamp its authority.

“These people are defying the party by going against the party policy of giving 20 percent (of the contested seats) to youths

“The MDC youth assembly is happy and content with the party’s decision to allocate a 20 percent quota to the assembly,” said Chidziva.

“The youths of Zimbabwe are the game changers in the upcoming elections; they must take charge of their future. The youths are the majority in Zimbabwe population, so an election without youth’s participation doesn’t reflect the will of the people and will not stabilise the economy.”

MDC youth assembly secretary-general Lovemore Chinoputsa weighed in saying they were prepared to defend the quota system.

“We notice attempts by certain senior members to continue smuggling names of people that do not fall within the youth bracket for constituencies earmarked by the national elections directorate,” said Chinoputsa.

“We will remain guided by the resolutions and direction given by the national elections directorate to ensure that young people tussle amongst themselves in these constituencies so that we may achieve the stated minimum 20 percent representation in the next Parliament and Cabinet.

“We will keep persuading, knocking doors and arguing our case for effective youth representation without fear or favour but obviously also in a very dignified manner that will not erode the unity and oneness that we are witnessing in the people’s movement.

“So negotiations are ongoing to ensure that these senior leaders who had sent out their CVs in constituencies earmarked for young people are persuaded to stand aside in dignity and assist these young people to campaign,” added Chinoputsa.

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