by Anna Chibamu
OUTHS from some 12 Zimbabwean opposition parties have threatened to forcibly remove President Robert Mugabe from office if the veteran leader fails to implement electoral reforms before the 2018 elections.
The youths were speaking at the launch of the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) in Harare last Wednesday.
Dozens of the activists broke into song during the launch, vowing to go into the streets saying Mugabe “must either implement reforms or kill all of us”.
The opposition accuses Mugabe cheating in elections and several have been boycotting recent polls to demand implementation of reforms that would make the contests “free and fair”.
The opposition youths expressed anger “over the way Mugabe has manipulated the voters’ roll” and demanded the removal of Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau “with immediate effect”.
The ZEC secretariat, the youths continued, must not be staffed by “individuals with conflicts of interest”, adding the agency should also stop working with government security agents like the police and the army.
“We do not want Chiefs, Headmen, the CIO and police or soldiers when it comes to election issues. Equal coverage should be given to all contesting parties,” said one youth leader only identified as Wera.
“The rights of Zimbabweans to free and fair elections cannot be asked for; they will be demanded. They will not be freely given; they will be taken and we will take our rights.
“So come 2018 we will either have electoral reforms or we will not have electoral reforms but, either way, victory is certain.”
NERA convener and opposition Transform Zimbabwe party president, Jacob Ngaribvume, said Zimbabweans “are being denied fairness and justice”.
“Resources are not being shared equally, not only in Zimbabwe but in Africa as a whole. Instead of having justice and fairness, leaders of Africa are selfish and greedy.
“We have black colonisers in Africa today,” he fumed.
After the launch, the youths burst out of the Anglican church along Nelson Mandela Avenue and chanted songs condemning the police as they marched towards Parliament building but were immediately stopped by the police.
Mugabe, now aged 92, has been in power since independence in 1980. He denies allegations of election fraud, insisting his rivals lack mass appeal.
The veteran leader has vowed, with the apparent support of his Zanu PF party, to seek another five-year mandate at the next elections in 2018 when he would be 94 years old.