Women, youths are parties’ trump cards . . . as former liberation movements prepare for congresses

Lovemore Ranga Mataire

Youths and women are the trump cards for former Southern African liberation movements’ continued rule and survival beyond the current post-liberation leadership, ZANU-PF spokesperson and Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Simon Khaya Moyo, has said.

In an exclusive interview with The Southern Times, Moyo said ZANU-PF and other former liberation movements were investing in youths to safeguard revolutionary gains and ideological ethos that have so far sustained their rule.

Former liberation movements in the region are the ANC in South Africa, Chama Cha Mapinduzi in Tanzania, FRELIMO in Mozambique, MPLA in Angola and SWAPO in Namibia.

Three of the liberation parties – ANC, SWAPO and ZANU-PF  hold their congresses this month and next month while  FRELIMO already held its congress last month where President Filipe Nyusi was re-elected to lead the party.

SWAPO and the ANC are expected to elect leaders during their conferences in November and December, respectively.

It was not clear whether ZANU-PF would chose new leadership during its Extraordinary Congress, but there have been calls for the party to implement a resolution adopted at its 2015 annual conference in Victoria Falls that one of its vice presidents must be a woman.

The run-up to the party congresses have so far been riddled by factionalism and serious fissures, which analysts say needed to be dealt with ahead of national elections.

Zimbabwe will hold harmonised elections next year while South Africa will hold general elections in 2019 to elect a National Assembly and new provincial legislatures. Namibia is also set to hold elections in 2019.

“Despite the challenges faced by former liberation movements in the region, I am confident that we will be able to overcome them. Former liberation movements are not headed for doom. I am encouraged by the fact that young people and women are taking leading roles and we are investing in them in order to secure the future. They are the leaders of tomorrow,” Moyo said.

He said women and youths were the bulwarks against Western surrogate elements fighting for regime change.

Moyo said it was apparent that ZANU-PF, like all other former liberation movements, was under siege from former colonisers who have planted their moles to destroy the parties from within.

A veteran of the liberation struggle, Moyo said most former liberation movements were faced with the reality of losing most of their stalwarts. He said the void being left by founding nationalists must be filled by the youths.

On the current leadership contestations in ZANU-PF, the ANC and SWAPO, Moyo said it was apparent that the former liberation movements had been infiltrated by regime change elements.

He, however, expressed confidence in the mechanisms ZANU-PF possesses to weed out such retrogressive elements within its rank and file.

“The infiltration speaks for itself. They have all these meetings at Chatham House where they invite these opposition political parties, especially towards elections.”

Moyo said ZANU-PF has enough arsenal to weed out moles within its ranks through proper research and intelligence gathering.

He said former liberation movements occasionally meet to share ideas on how to counter the machinations of former colonisers.

“We believe an injury to one is an injury to all. I am quite satisfied with the way we have opened up so that the youths take responsibility. I believe we are doing the right thing.”

The veteran nationalist said the people were supreme and that no one was above the party as governments were products of parties that enunciate policies.

Commenting on the current suspension of some provincial members accused of fomenting factionalism, Moyo said although he was reluctant to comment on “a process unfolding” it was critical that members were conversant with the party’s constitution.

“Some people have no time to read the constitution and when things happen they think there is a crisis. I think we need to impart knowledge about the constitution. Our constitution is our political bible and once we go by the constitution all these challenges are avoidable,” he said.

Moyo dismissed aspersions that the US$8 million targeted to be raised for the Extraordinary Congress was exorbitant, saying ZANU-PF was a massive party. He said thousands of delegates attending the congress would need accommodation, transport and catering while there would be a lot of documentation to be produced.

He said preparations for the congress were progressing well with a number of sub-committees set up to coordinate different portfolios. Moyo said next week’s Politburo meeting will receive feed from the sub-committees that are currently liaising with provincial executives on the preparations.

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