Arrest unruly youths: Mutasa

Sloganeering, marching, singing, taunting passersby, wielding sticks and uniformly raising vicious fists in the air, Zanu (PF) youths ransack foreign-owned shops and market stalls owned by suspected MDC activists.

Innocent people struggling for survival have fallen prey to these youths who demand money simply because they belong to Zanu (PF). The militant group has seized bus terminuses around the city and even invaded people’s homes.

“We are losing money every day to these criminals. They claim it goes to their party,” said Honest Murombedzi, a kombi driver plying the city-Kuwadzana route.

“Every time we park in town, violent youths, claiming to be sent by Zanu (PF) bosses, demand $1,00, which they say is for some party projects. The money is not receipted,” he said.

Another victim of the scam, Phindi Sibanda, who used to operate a market stall in Mbare, claimed that she lost her business to the youths, who besieged her market stall, accusing her of supporting MDC.

“I was told to go and make a market stall at Harvest House, the headquarters for MDC-T,” Sibanda said.

Henry Okonkwo, a Nigerian businessman, said he was tired of young people claiming to have been sent by Zanu (PF) leaders asking him to contribute money towards their party.

“It is so bad. Every day these youths storm my business premises, demanding money. They claim it is meant for party business. They carry what I strongly suspect is a bogus letter signed by Didymus Mutasa, Secretary for Administration,” Okonkwo said.

Scores of other businessmen interviewed across the city concurred.

“This is not new, we have endured this rot for a long time, but we have no choice because we want to keep our businesses up and running,” said Amid Raj.

The independent media has been awash with reports of suspected Zanu (PF) youths demanding “toll fees” from commuter omnibuses, claiming to have been sent by Mutasa.

The minister has now gone on record, disowning the youths, saying he is keen to see them being brought to book.

“I don’t know who sent them to illegally get money from the kombis,” Mutasa said.

“The police must arrest the culprits because they are using my name and unlawfully siphoning money from people. When the police arrest them, they should also notify me,” said Mutasa.

Zanu (PF) Harare Youth Chairman, Jim Kunaka, has also refuted claims that the marauding youths were linked to the party.

“In our vocabulary we don’t have such fraud. We will not tolerate people going about dirtying the party’s name and I will investigate,” he claimed.

But while the youth chairperson was busy saying this, youths had seized control of car parks in Westly, Warren Park and Kuwadzana and braced for a showdown with city fathers who control the car parks.

Political analyst, Charles Mangongera said the behaviour of the youths showed a party on the verge of collapse.

“The moral fabric of the party has been destroyed. Anyone can now use the name of the party to do anything and get away with it. I think the riotous youths are not coming from Zanu(PF). They are just criminals,” Mangongera said.

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