IN a country battling an unprecedented economic turmoil and social upheaval, it is nothing short of bizarrely tragic that a group of young people would vow to defend a government that has been the biggest contributor to their own suffering through “austerity measures” that seem designed to richly punish the poor.

While such sentiments are expected from Zanu PF youth, it is sad that our politics are centred more on blindly following political leaders without interrogating their policies and challenging them to deliver on promises made during elections. There are many promises that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF party made in the run up to the last elections, including key reforms that would have seen his government embraced by the international economy.

These young people should instead be following up on those promises, but many of them, unfortunately, were recently used to march against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West.
Yes sanctions are detrimental where they are not due, but not when our rulers abuse their power for self-serving purposes. In fact, the United States should find means to punish only the corrupt political elites and not use blanket sanctions that hurt the innocent.

Be that as it may the recent anti-sanctions march simply demonstrates the dangers that come when young people lack proper political grounding and continue to be used as a vanguard to prop up a corrupt regime that has robbed them of their future and opportunities. While the majority of these youth are jobless, they continue to be used to defend the very political elites who have destroyed the economy and facilitated the shrinking of the job market and opportunities for economic development.

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It is our hope that the view of the youth in Mashonaland East is not a reflection of the disposition of the other youths elsewhere in the country. In the next 20 years, many of these political leaders will no longer be around, or perhaps some would be in their twilight years, and it is these young people who will pay the price of the decisions they are making today.

What this means is that these young people are rubber-stamping the destruction and plunder of their own future. If these young people understood their power, they would have used it to hold their leaders accountable for the corruption and mismanagement that continue to afflict this nation as many politicians selfishly help themselves to national resources.

It is tragic when young people vow to “deal” with those who criticise Mnangagwa. This appears to confirm that they believe in an autocratic system under which their leader is beyond fault and should not to be challenged, regardless of whether he succeeds or fails. No country can succeed and progress when it does not allow constructive criticism of its leadership. It makes one fear to imagine that these young people will be the future leaders of this country. Quite clearly, their allegiance is to mortals rather than to Zimbabwe.