Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to defeat President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu-PF in next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.
It also comes as Tsvangirai is leading efforts to unite the country’s opposition ahead of next year, an alliance which analysts say presents them with the best chance to finally bring down Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Manicaland launch of the “Bereka Mwana Tiende” voter recruitment campaign in Mutare on Saturday, MDC national youth league chairperson, Happymore Chidziva, said the decision to woo sex workers was informed by the fact that they were “the public, glaring face of the government’s failure”.
“They are of importance to the struggle because they have been pushed into commercial sex work due to the hardships they have faced . . . They will speak to the nation about how tough times have become.
“To call them prostitutes is to degrade them. We are targeting the girl child who is being abused by the current government to the extent of being forced to sell their bodies to survive.
“Their voices must be heard. They should be afforded the opportunity to share their stories . . . and we all share the same challenges,” Chidziva told the Daily News.
The “Bereka Mwana Tiende” campaign is a door-to-door voter registration campaign which urges all Zimbabweans, particularly first-time voters, to register ahead of next year’s general elections.
Chidziva said it was very important for young people to have a say in the politics of the country, as they could also decide the course of an election.
“The MDC was formed in 1999 and next year all those who were born at the turn of the century will be eligible to vote. This campaign is aimed at exciting them to register and vote,” Chidziva said.
A fortnight ago, Tsvangirai himself also delivered a warning to youths and first time voters to register and vote in next year’s elections.
“In our last election, only five percent of those between the age of 18 and 35 voted. I am now challenging all these young people because you are allowing us the old people to continue defining your future.
“Are you aware that you are outsourcing your future to the old, even to grandfathers like Mugabe. You are outsourcing your future to that old man. What does that mean?
“Let’s all go and register to vote. On voting day, we are not supposed to go home without casting our votes.
“And simply going to vote is also not good enough. We must also defend our vote. We must not leave this duty to only a few people,” Tsvangirai said then.
“I am making a final appeal to you. You are the game changers, as 60 percent of those below the age of 40 are the majority of the country’s population . . . unfortunately, you are leaving everything in Tsvangirai’s hands.
“When Zanu-PF rigs elections, many of you simply look up to me. Some of you don’t have national identity cards, others do not even make an effort to get these ID cards.
“Yet others don’t even come around on the days to register for elections. So . . . you are in effect saying the old generation must define your future,” he added.
The former prime minister in the stability-inducing government of national unity made his forceful call at a time that he is on the cusp of finalising coalition agreements with other opposition leaders ahead of next year’s eagerly-anticipated polls.