Youths have the power to end
RECENT suggestions by Higher Education minister
Jonathan Moyo that youths will decide the
outcome of the much-anticipated 2018 elections is
an inadvertent admission that President Robert
Mugabe and his party’s end is nigh, analysts say.
In a tweet last week, Moyo, a member of
Mugabe’s Zanu PF politburo submitted that “As a
DEMOGRAPHIC group, G40 is a political majority
that will decide the 2018 election & provide
While Moyo’s counsel could be interpreted to mean
that he was referring to the G40 as a Zanu PF
factional grouping locked in a succession battle
with another faction backing Vice President
Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe,
analysts canvassed by the Daily News on Sunday
concurred with the ruling party bigwig that
indeed, the youths will be a decisive factor in
The analysts however, said Moyo could be
mistaken in thinking that the G40 demographic
group would vote to keep Zanu PF in power
because the ruling party’s policies did not
resonate with the youth who are at the receiving
end of Mugabe’s policies that have seen massive
unemployment estimated at over 80 percent.
University of London-based professor of world
politics Steven Chan said the youths were not
happy with the dearth of modern plans for the
future both in possible successors to Mugabe -—
his wife Grace and Mnangagwa as well as
opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“In fact, he is right to expect a reaction against
the gerontocratic, backwards-looking politics of
(the late) Mugabe-era.
“Those who will be 40 in 2018 were two years old
at independence, and are dismayed at the lack of
modern plans for the future,” Chan said.
“However, neither Tsvangirai nor Mnangagwa,
nor even Grace, is any longer part of this
younger generation. All are part of a power
struggle. But it is Zanu PF who retains the
greatest amount of power, so the succession
becomes extremely important within Zanu PF.
“But whoever wins the struggle, if he or she
cannot speak the language of the young, and
only looks backwards, there will be no hope for
those who are 40”.
The analysts also observed that the bulk of young
people born just before and soon after
Independence grew up in an environment
dominated by Zanu PF whose policies caused so
many problems, including marginalisation of the
youth and regions like Matabeleland.
Academic and publisher Ibbo Mandaza for example
said Moyo’s observation was a wake-up call for
the ruling party as the writing is already on the
wall for Zanu PF with the current wave of anti-
Mugabe protests sweeping across the country.
Mandaza said Mugabe’s policies, especially the
Indigenisation Act, did not provide a link between
growth and human development.
He added that the policies had led to pattern of
growth without expanding employment
opportunities, leading to increasing inequality
and poverty as well as voiceless growth where
democracy is not nurtured while resources needed
by future generations were being squandered by
the ruling elite.
He said young people, who constitute the biggest
section of not only Zimbabwe’s but almost all
countries’ population, are neither participants in
the economy nor beneficiaries of the proceeds of
“Instead youth unemployment, poverty and
inequality have replaced opportunity, hope and
faith in government hence the current explosion
of popular discontent by groups such as Tajamuka
and #ThisFlag and very few, if any, will vote
Zanu PF. So Moyo is inadvertently admitting that
Zanu PF has lost it,” Mandaza said.
While young people are the majority of the
marginalised, unemployed and prone to political
manipulation — Zanu PF, Mandaza said, has
failed to appreciate the reality that economic
growth and indigenisation in isolation would not
necessarily translate into progress.
“Indigenisation must be linked to economic
growth and translated into productive-
employment growth, which is a key nexus between
growth and poverty reduction.
“That is the why the idea of grabbing 51 percent
of foreign-owned companies, and coming up with
community trusts without linking that to the
mainstream economy will not enhance their
chances of winning elections in 2018.”
On the other hand however, University of
Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred
Masunungure argued that 2018 elections will not
necessarily be about who has sound policies but
“who can distribute booty to the unemployed
Masunungure said in that case, it would be Zanu
PF and Mugabe who would benefit in the 2018
“In terms of electoral politics, Moyo’s assessment
is accurate and one that should be taken
seriously. I, however, do not think that policies
“The issue is who can organise patronage
targeting the youths, by far the largest single
demographic group,” Masunungure opined.
“Zanu PF is already distributing the patronage
cake in urban areas through residential stands to
youths and women and they will do so for the next
“Strategy, at the end of the day will make the
difference between electoral success and failure
and that is why I doubt that the next election
will be about policy”.
Source: Daily News
Youths have the power to end