...'we fear being attacked by angry citizens for empty promises'
CHIREDZI - Few weeks after President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed a politburo meeting and ordered Zanu PF bigwigs stationed at Shake-Shake building to always put on party regalia, national vice youth chairperson Lewis Matutu was on Tuesday left stone-faced after disgruntled youths told him they too were not proud to wear the regalia.
Matutu, who was accompanied by Masvingo provincial youth chairperson Brian Munyoro, was on his way to Chikombedzi to launch a goat project when he first addressed a meeting at the party’s district offices in Tshovani.
Many youths attended the meeting in their ordinary clothes, and when Matutu raised a point of order, he was heckled.
Some said they were avoiding the party regalia because there was nothing to show for it in a difficult economy, while others said wearing the regalia would expose them to the risk of being attacked by angry citizens who blame the ruling party for the economic difficulties.
“We cannot be seen walking around in party regalia. We have seen many videos of comrades being stripped of the regalia. People are angry!” shouted one youth from the floor.
Matutu, however, urged Zanu PF supporters to fight back if they were provoked and forced to remove their regalia.
“You should learn to defend yourself from those barbaric MDC supporters who are going around undressing people of their regalia. It’s as good as taking somebody else’s wife. That’s being belittled, you should be proud of your regalia because we won this election,” said Matutu.
The unconvinced youths, however, stood their ground, arguing there was nothing to be proud of in the regalia, with one Lloyd Simango saying nobody should be forced to put on the regalia when the party always made empty promises.
“Has the system changed yet or it’s still that old system of the Mugabe times? Because as youths, we have realised that we have held many elections where you made a lot of manifestos, some prioritising the youths but you are not delivering.
“You should learn to implement every piece of project you would have promised. You gave an example that it’s being belittled for another man to take your wife but that can happen because you could be failing to take good care of her.
“Some of us, maybe you can see tisina regalia, it’s because we are not even proud to wear it as there is nothing to defend it with so it will be wise to remove it off my body (sic) than to end up being injured. You are the only big guys who are benefiting the fruits of the revolution while the grassroots are suffering,” said Simango to loud applause from the gathering.
Sensing the hostility, Matutu tried to silence the youths and quickly changed the topic of the day.
Many social media videos purportedly showing mobs forcing people to remove Zanu PF-branded T/shirts have circulated on social media. There were also reports that bigwigs were removing stickers from branded party vehicles for fear of stirring public anger in fuel queues.