The Elusive Quest for the Youth Vote: Yet so near, yet so far for the opposition
A growing purview from the Zimbabwe main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (Alliance) has shown impudence towards a false hope of capturing the youth swig vote in the 2023 elections. Whilst there is a lot of clamor from the now nameless political entity for the youth to register to vote, pundits have classified such a wishful drive as a ‘yet so near, yet so far’ political adventure.
The opposition MDC Alliance, together with its surrogate forces of change have no moral right to claim the youth as belonging to their ‘change agenda’ as it has been clear since their formation that they are bent on making people including the youth to suffer until they vote for them.
This type of political grandstanding has no position in the African political morality. How does one purport to love by hurting first? How can the exercise of political care be first put through an exertion of breath suppression pressure?
Today the opposition MDC Alliance clown over a drive to use the youth in unseating the Zanu PF ruling government in the forthcoming elections hence the same youth have been impoverished by the maggoty of their opposition politics. How absurd!
One may wonder why there is a lot of weight put on the youth vote by the opposition. Other political analysts believe the Zambian example is being replayed or is replayable in Zimbabwe. The answer is neither of the two. The Chamisa led political outfit knew they have been playing ‘suffer politics’ for a long time to warrant a submission by the youth. The MDC A has therefore no moral, intuitive, social nor compassionate claims towards the youth vote as you shall learn hereunder.
In September 2012 I wrote an article in the Herald, entitled “A Decade that Lost a Generation”, and in my summation of the developments that took place in Zimbabwe soon after the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), i concluded that “1999 to 2009’ was indeed a decade that lost a generation in Zimbabwe. Hence the benefactor of the situation, the MDC Alliance should not even build ‘castles’ around despondency they created. The youth are quite in the know of whats at play in the gargantuan moribund opposition politics in Zimbabwe.
The September 2012 article began by a look at what caused the Zimbabwe problem within the years 2000 to 2009. The decade opened with Zimbabwe being slammed with sanctions following the Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP). This affected mostly the youth in Zimbabwe and led to their isolation from accessing international financial markets and lack of foreign direct investments.
“To borrow Walter Rodney’s words, the period had a posterity ‘of the development of underdevelopment’ in Zimbabwe. During this period, Zimbabwe was driven and controlled by alien and weird economic and social values as a result of the sanctions, incessant strikes and industrial actions instigated by the MDC. These values were able to set standards by which people were to define their individual survival,” I argued then.
In 2001 Tendai Biti and other MDC officials travelled to the United States of America where they unanimously called for sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“Empirically, some analysts such as Peter Drucker argued that ‘the essence of such political developments was to determine a bleak futurity of the present’. In such a situation and scenario, a nation’s future, which in itself resides in the youth, would be doomed,” I argued further. All what the MDC was doing was to ‘force people’ into suffering in order to cajole them towards pursuing incompetent political alternatives.
Subsequently, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) was enacted in 2001 by the US. The Government of Zimbabwe was unable to participate in programmes created by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Monetary Fund programme (IMF) to assist in the transformation and resuscitation of Zimbabwe’s economy. And what was the implication for this?
A value was being created on the unpalatability of the ruling party. A value, very alien and weird in nature as it was intended to framework the preferences people made of their lives and to guide choices while indicating what was immediately worthwhile at that time. Thus the period become known as ‘era of a lost generation”. The youth’s future choices were being shaped by the realities of the dire circumstances. Youth mindsets were intendedly being shaped to denigrate ‘what is proudly’ theirs and embrace the neo liberal political alternative.
EU was cutting off 128 million euros in development aid for the 2002-2007 period.
Its apparent that the MDC Alliance by then MDC T or whatever variant existed then, invested in the destruction of formal thinking in terms of what constitutes a voting value to an informal reasoning that ‘what matters is now and today’. The youth became sensitive to their circumstances and environment. But all this changed in 2013 when a landslide victory by the Zanu PF party reconfirmed that ‘no amount of political misgospelling’ would sway and swig the youth vote.
The political turmoil witnessed in the period between 1999-2009, was largely misunderstood as a battle for good governance, rule of law and democracy while it was a war of dismantling, destruction, and extinction of the country’s future, heritage and enduring traditions and values. The sanctions came and destroyed the fibre and fabric of the entire generation. The Second Republic has indulged itself in honestly restoring the country’s economic glamour destroyed by the opposition’s ‘politics of suffer’.
Equally the same, the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were to create an illiterate generation, a generation of mahwindi, moneychangers and mandimbandimba, who would only think, not of the future, but that immediate moment of their lives. A nation that way would lose its reliance on such a generation. And this has been the machinations of the shrewd opposition forces tactics.
The loss would eventually grant a nation as useless in the event that that generation attain leadership of the country or become eligible to vote in an election. The revolutionary spirit of resistance to colonialism would have been weaned away and in its place a sincere submission of rights would reside. A creation of soft targets for adaptation into the change regimes. Vakanyangira yaona.
Ben Turok in an article entitled “The Left in Africa Today” contends that the African continent has been experiencing more instability and dislocation than at any other time since the end of colonial rule. Many governments have been undergoing severe political crises with revolutionary governments becoming increasingly targeted for discreditation in elections. That’s an electoral terrorism. This is terrorism in another form, a terrorism which is different from the widely known terrorism, a terrorism which a growing academic community accepts as neo-colonialism and replaced the colonial systems of yesteryears. This type of terrorism, historically, manifested itself in the ‘politics of suffer’ of the opposition forces in Zimbabwe.
This is a new brand of terrorism that seek to disenfranchise hope, dignity, self-esteem and every sense of survival in the people of this generation. It is a terrorism that deliberately targets and continues to target and disregard the safety, political integrity of this generation. It’s a terrorism of history, a past and a legacy.
It is terrorism against the people’s pan Africanism, authority and ownership, a terrorism of national pride, pride of place and livelihood. It is a terrorism that has become a means to the end, whose venom has created a black cloud over the people of this generation.
Far more profound is the amount of damage meted to this generation by the opposition forces in Zimbabwe.
One thing that has become apparent is that the Nelson Chamisa led political outfit, knows that the destabilization they caused since their formation in Zimbabwe through sanctions invitation, made sure that life would be difficult for the youth. The youth they mostly target is the same youth they attempted to destroy through their ‘politics of suffer.’ Hence it is almost clear from all the discerning youth that what the MDC Alliance in particular stands for is not for the good of the generality of people but some powerful surrogates.
Today, Africa’s youth represent an increasingly important constituency as demographic patterns skew their numerical weight but for the opposition forces, it’s a matter of ‘yet so near, yet so far.’ History shows that the youth vote has always been eluding the opposition in Zimbabwe.