By Tichaona Sibanda
07 November 2012
As next year’s general election draws nearer by the day, politics in the MDC-T, which for over a decade had been dominated by the old guard, is set for a major transformation. This follows indications of increased participation by youth leaders.
Many of the senior members of the party are three term parliamentarians and their reluctance in the past to be challenged in the primaries has been the cause of bitter recriminations at constituency level.
However, this time round all indications are that the political old guard is set for a bruising battle with the young turks, come next year’s poll.
One man facing a challenge at the primaries is Water Resources Minister, Sam Sipepa Nkomo. The Lobengula MP is set to contest the right to represent the party against 32 year-old Freedom Mazwi, a social and economic justice activist who is currently a member of the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial youth.
A graduate of political science from the University of Zimbabwe, Mazwi served at secretariat level in the MDC-T between 2008 and 2012, where he worked in the national chairman’s office.
‘We have been spectators for a long time in the political arena of this country and this has resulted in many of us being marginalized. But we want to change this through youthful leadership,’ said Mazwi when declaring his interest in the Lobengula constituency. Mazwi explained that political leaders, especially from ZANU PF, have for a long time been viewed as ‘demigods’.
‘We don’t want this to creep into the MDC. There has been little representation from the youth in both the lower and upper House and we have for long been very supportive of our elders,’ Mazwi said.
He added: ‘Since the MDC-T is a democratic party that allows individuals to participate in the electoral process, I will therefore subject myself to the party’s internal democratic process and face minister Nkomo.’
‘After wide consultations with my family, friends and comrades I have come to a point where I feel I should broaden myself to a national level by offering myself to the people of Lobengula to serve as a member of the House of Assembly.
‘The House of Assembly is a critical arm of the state which plays an oversight role and thus requires fearless and strategic thinkers.’
The youth leader discounted any fears that his challenge will cause animosity and divide the party cadres in the constituency, saying the imposition of candidates was the most dangerous practice that can easily destroy party structures.
‘This is only an internal process, of which if I lose the contest to Minister Nkomo, I will congratulate him, pull our forces together and campaign for him to win re-election against other aspiring candidates from other parties,’ said Mazwi.