Various student movements gathered to air their views on the 2018 elections at an event held at Batanai Gardens in Harare last night.

By Rumbidzai Nyabako

The event was graced by Darlington Madzonga, a Programmes Officer at the Students Solidarity Trust(SST),Gender Secretary for the Zimbabwe National Students Union(ZINASU) Kimberly Chikanda, Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy Student Command (YARD) President Marshall Nhachi, ZINASU national spokesperson Tatenda Mandondo and Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union(ZICOSU) National Spokesperson Shepherd Pasipanodya.

In his opening remarks, Madzonga mentioned that there is the need for students to take part in the decision making of important national developments in Zimbabwe. He added that issues to do with elections are very important in the sense that students are affected by any development that comes out. He described the students and youth as the vanguard of any revolution. He questioned the fact that is Zimbabwe so poor that it has to rely on foreign investment rather than mobilizing our own resources. Madzonga went on to encourage the students and youth to take note on the manifestos that have been launched to check which one best suits their interest.

Chikandara raised issues that greatly affects young women. She pointed out that young women are not being given opportunities and space to participate in the political arena. She added that Zimbabweans are pretending that they have shifted from the patriarchal dominated mindsets. She said women are still confined to the kitchen, bedroom and the private sector of the economy. She also mentioned that women are not being given access to all the necessary information and funding for them to be fully equipped for politics.

Nhachi raised issues to do with the contribution of students in the electoral processes and he testified that YARD was greatly involved from the beginning as they made efforts to attend most events including observing proceedings of the primary elections. He also mentioned that the manifestos issues were not really engaging the youth hence the students need to see to it that they participate in the political developments.

Pasipanodya mentioned that ZICOSU is actively involved in the campaigning of Mnangagwa. He alluded to the fact that women are actively participating in politics such as Grace Mugabe, Winnie Mandela and Jessie Majome. He also highlighted that Zimbabweans are free to express their views as President Mnangagwa has created a free environment. Pasipanodya mentioned that President Mnangagwa spoke of entrepreneurial opportunities for young people making it possible to have entrepreneurial students in Zimbabwe.

Mandondo alleged that the upcoming elections already been rigged by both the ruling party and the opposition. He also mentioned that students and youth needed to have a decolonization of the mind so that they understood that neither President Mnangagwa nor MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was going to improve their lives to their personal lives. He added that there was a need for students to check the feasibility of promises made in the political parties manifestos.

After an episode of heated disagreements, all the student movements reached a general consensus that the will all actively participate in the coming elections, shun violence and see to it that free and fair elections are achieved.