Discent Bajila is the youth assembly secretary-general of the MDC-N, the Movement for Democratic Change party led by Welshman Ncube, Zimbabwe’s current minister of commerce and industry. Bajila has been a member of the umbrella MDC party since 2005, before it split into the MDC-N and the MDC-T.
Tafadzwa Mugwadi, commonly known as Tuboy, is the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Youth Action Group, the youth organization affiliated with the ZANU-PF party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front. Tuboy has been a member of ZANU-PF since 2012. ZANU-PF is led by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s current president.
Maureen Kademaunga is the secretary of international relations in the youth assembly of the MDC-T, the Movement for Democratic Change party led by Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s current prime minister. She’s been a party member since 2005.
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RNW producer Shaun Matsheza recently spoke with youth representatives from the MDC-N, the ZANU-PF and the MDC-T about why they stand behind their respective parties and what they would say if they had to convince their own children to vote in Zimbabwe’s elections on Wednesday. Here’s an edited summary of their interviews.
Discent Bajila says vote MDC-N to "bring about devolution"
The MDC is the only party that will guarantee you a good future. The party is guided by the principles of democracy, and the desire for the people of Zimbabwe to control their own future and their destiny through the local control of their own resources.
What I’d say to my child: support the party that will bring about devolution, where the people in every area of Zimbabwe will be fully in control of their economic resources and their political processes, instead of every decision coming from a central government. Vote for a government that will give you a good education, and allow you to study whatever it is you want to study, and then you can make your own contribution to the country. Vote for a party that will give you access to economic opportunities by giving you access to local resources, and a chance to be productive in your home area. Vote a party with leaders who will listen to your concerns and consider the wishes of the young people.
Tafadzwa Mugwadi says vote ZANU-PF to "invest in jobs"
ZANU-PF is the only party that has the people of Zimbabwe at heart. The only party who can proffer empirical solutions to the challenges that our country is facing. You compare the IEEP [Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Policy, passed by ZANU-PF] to the JUICE [campaign, whose acronym stands for Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital, Ecology] that is being offered by the MDC, [and you see how these other campaigns] are being put forward by political charlatans from other mushrooming political parties. You will realize these are desperate policies that are being driven by a people who are just desperate to get into government.
Zimbabwe offers you everything that you want, my child, it is a country of milk and honey. You certainly need to get yourself involved. Your president, who is also my president, has given you an opportunity through policy. I would not have expected you to get everything from President Mugabe. What President Mugabe does to you and me, my child, is to buy mealie meal for us, not to buy meat for us. The President – who is my president, your president, in your country – and his party, ZANU-PF, only create conducive policy from which you can draw wealth.
Maureen Kademaunga says vote MDC-T for "good-quality tertiary education"
The MDC-T’s fundamental values are rooted in the democracy discourse. Democracy is not just an issue of holding elections periodically – it’s about holding elections which are effective in reflecting the wishes of the people.
In terms of freedom – political freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of association – I know you young people of today are very opinionated. You want to fill your mind, you want to participate freely as global citizens, but you can’t do that in Zimbabwe because of the conditions we are living under. If you want the democratic space to open up, then you better vote for the MDC. And in terms of quality of life, I can’t afford certain things for you, not because I’m not a hard worker but because economic conditions just don’t allow. So I think for a prosperous Zimbabwe, looking into the future, even the future of your own kids, you just need to vote for the MDC.
Do any of these youth representatives convince you? Tell us who your party of choice is via Facebook or Twitter. Curious to hear about other Zimbabweans’ voting experiences? Check out our series My Vote Zimbabwe.