Webster Shamu, the party political commissar and Minister of Information and Publicity was the guest of honour at the launch.The youths some of them bussed into the city from rural areas, gathered at the Civic Center gardens and started chanting their party slogans and singing revolutionary songs while denouncing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The youths forced businesses to shut down and ordered owners to attend the ceremony.They also closed a flea market in town popularly known as ‘ Kuchitima ’ where the majority of the traders are Zanu (PF) loyalists. Radio Vop witnessed the incidences. Some of the youths used loud speakers attached to cars calling on all the residents to attend the ceremony.
In the residential areas the youths moved door by door collecting residents’ ID numbers and telling them not to miss the function.A shop owner who requested anonymity said he had lost business because of the actions by the youths.
“ Today is a weekend where most civil servants who got their salaries do their shopping, yet they force us to close shop. We have lost great business , ” said another shop owner.But organizer of the function and central committee member Clemence Makwarimba saw nothing sinister with the move to force people to attend.
“ Remember the sanctions affect everyone. The ordinary people are the most affected, so we have to rally behind President Mugabe’s efforts , ” said Makwarimba.
Makwarimba said Masvingo province is expecting 25 000 people to sign the petition.Addressing about 8 000 people Shamu said the anti-sanctions petition if ignored, will ensure that everything is totally under the control of locals from land, mines to firms.
” If the petition is not taken seriously, then we will enforce that we totally take over all the foreign owned companies. We had agreed to leave foreign investors with less than 50 percent shares, but if the sanctions are not removed, then we will take all the shares.
Shamu challenged Zanu (PF) Masvingo provincial chairman to do door-to-door campaigns in rural areas to solicit for the signatures.
” Move door to door, even to the homes of MDC-T supporters, and get their signatures. MDC-T lied to the nation while Zanu (PF) history is the history of the nation ,” he said.