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Soldier, Zanu PF militia disrupt YAT event
Youth Agenda Trust
July 17, 2013

In a move that has reminded villagers here that a free, fair and violent free election is still a pipe dream, Zanu-PF youths in Mvurwi led by a retired soldier on Tuesday disrupted a sports tournament that was organized by Youth Agenda Trust (YAT) arguing that the organisation is a front of the imperialist agenda.

The soldier only identified as Chishaka formerly with the presidential guard in cahoots with local farmer identified as Nhepera led Zanu-PF youths in a door to door campaign on Monday warning villagers against attending the YAT event and threatening them with unspecified action.

The group, which received logistical support from aspiring Zanu-PF MP Edgar Chidavaenzi, stormed Pembichase farm located in Ward 26 of Mazoe North Constituency and ordered youths, some of whom had walked about 10 kilometres to the venue, to abandon the Play Your Vote sports tournament. The youths were supported by a group of policeman from the area who threatened the youths against defying the militia’s orders.

Despite spirited efforts by the YAT secretariat to negotiate with the marauding militia, the tournament was stopped after the group became violent and started pushing and shoving the youths. YAT was only able to address youths who stay close to the farm. YAT Coordinator for Mashonaland Central Tonderai Samhu was taken for questioning and threatened with death if he dared organize a similar event in the constituency. Addressing youths who had braved the intimidation, YAT coordinator Fortune Nyamande challenged them to be resilient and turn out in large numbers and vote for progressive politicians.

He called on the young people to choose politicians who have sustainable solutions to their problems such as unemployment, basic education and health facilities and a government that respect fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the constitution. On the sidelines of the tournament, the youths discussed about their right to vote, issues around the secrecy of their ballots and the provisions of the new electoral act.

Youths who attended the meeting received t-shirts courtesy of ZimRights and the Election Resource Centre, The Zimbabwean newspapers and newsletters from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

YAT maintains that although Zanu-PF has been telling anyone who cares to listen that it is ready for elections, it is evident that it wants to conduct the polls under an intimidating environment and steal the people’s vote.

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