UPDATES BY: Thembinkosi Mangena, Josephine Mugiyo and Tawanda Chitete

16:44 – The Minister of State for Masvingo Province, Cde Shuval Mahofa gives a vote of thanks before Cde Chipanga announces that the next Presidential Interface rally is set for Matabeleland North Province on 14 July 2017.

16:38 – Cde Mugabe concludes his address by recalling the legacy of peace and unity left behind by former vice presidents; Dr Joshua Nkomo and Cde John Landa Nkomo.

16:27 – “When differences arise, sit down, discuss and refer them to us, and we don’t want fights,” President Mugabe.

16:26 – “Europe has exhausted its natural resources, forests, wildlife and they want to control ours. Europe is not accepting anyone who is not of their choice, they want to influence our political systems,” says the President.

16:24 – “Mbeki will be coming to discuss with me the way forward for revolutionary parties in Africa. We are unhappy with what is happening in South Africa, DRC, Mozambique and we don’t think Chama Cha Mapinduzi will remain the same as it was during the time of Julius Nyerere.”

“We have been the roots, us seniors, but will you become the roots? Europe is not accepting anyone who is not their choice. Europe is now hard up in terms of natural resources. Underground resources are now scarce, you get them here and there in the likes of Germany. You don’t talk of gold in Europe. So there no minerals, natural resources, they no longer have wildlife and that’s why they say “don’t kill your wildlife, don’t sell elephant tasks”etc. It’s the fear in them seeing us with all the resources and if they sell all of them where will we get such?” President Mugabe.

16:18 – Cde Mugabe: ‘Negative characters in the party who no longer want to be part of Zanu PF, let them go. We have been tolerant and this party should remain strong and united. [Former South African President, Thabo] Mbeki said there are only a few revolutionary parties left in Africa, and we are one of them. This means that we must remain united as a revolutionary party.”

16:17 – On factionalism, Cde Mugabe says: ‘It doesn’t help anybody to denounce somebody he/she feels is standing on their way. The so called factions must be silenced.

16:08 – President now talks about elections next year, saying there is need for voter education on the new electoral system adopted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the biometric system.

16:01 – Cde Mugabe: “I don’t want to hear any one saying there is no employment or I am employed, those who say so bring them to me so that I can laugh at them. What do you want to do, mining? there is no province without minerals.”

15:58 – The President challenges youths to work hard and create employment, not to sit on their laurels, waiting for others to employ them.

15:49 – He speaks on Command Fishing Programme, whose national launch was held at Tokwe Mukosi dam in Masvingo, saying it is meant to ensure employment creation and producing healthy food for the nation.

15:42 – Cde Mugabe speaks on Command Livestock production, says livestock should now be reared commercially and earn the nation employment.

15:41 – “A farmer is a farmer through and through, so no need to stop or rest,” says Cde Mugabe.

15:39 – He says now the government has extended the programme to wheat production.

15:35 – President Mugabe lauds the Command Agriculture programme, describing it as a ‘very beautiful programme,’ adding that ‘we must not destroy it as it has worked as a springboard for food security in the country. He says the programme has worked well alongside the Presidential Input Scheme.

15:26 – Cde Mugabe takes a swipe at farmers who are subletting farms to white former farm owners and engaging in cellphone farming by staying in towns while white farmers work in the fields under the cover of their names. He says A2 farmers as well as chiefs are engaging in the act. He says instead of calling back white farmers, they would rather call fellow Zimbabweans into the farms.

15:17 – “We have had several complaints about the National Political Commissar [Cde Saviour Kasukuwere] imposing candidates. We have discussed this issue with the commissar and we thought we had ironed out the problem.”

15:16 – “Masvingo is very important to us, we used to say with Cde [Simon] Muzenda, One Party State. Now respect and have a good understanding your MPs, people in the constituency have the right to chose their representatives, don’t impose candidates on the people.”

15:11 – Acknowledging and thanking the youth league for organising the One Million Man March, he also lauds the spirit shown by the youths, which he says is now scaring a lot of people. “That spirit of unity…That is what we want..our jobs as the seniors was to show direction to you.”

15:07 – Cde Mugabe says Zanu PF stands for everyone hence the drive to empower all Zimbabweans for  self-sustenance ‘to show that truly we are an independent country.’

15:01 –  President Mugabe invites youths and women to present their concerns, issues, visions and aspirations to the party leadership, so that they are discussed by the party’s Politburo and Central Committee.

14:55 – After all salutations, President Mugabe confirms that the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe is out of the country to see Chatunga who is having his studies there, hence her absence from the rally.

14:50 – Cde Chipanga invites the President to address the rally and we have a musical interlude, the sounding of Jah Praizah’s ‘Mudhara Achauya,’ hit.

14:47 – Cde Chipanga concludes his address by thanking President Mugabe for following through on his promise to visit youths in all the country’s provinces because not all youths managed to come for the One Million Man March staged last year.

14:46 – He also lauds the creation of Empower Bank

14:46 – Noting many projects President Mugabe and his government are undertaking in the province such as the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu highway, Cde Chipanga urges the President to expropriate farms in the province and give at least five hectares to each youth.

14:45 – Cde Chipanga says youths constitute the largest population in the country and that should translate into votes for President Mugabe and Zanu PF.

14:44 – He urges all youths to register and then vote for President Robert Mugabe in the forthcoming 2018 elections.

14:40 – Cde Chipanga takes to the podium to address the rally.

14:14 -Time for introductions and Cde Chipanga introduces Politburo members and invites the two Vice Presidents Mphoko and Mnangagwa to greet the gathering through party slogans.

14:09 – Traditional leaders from the area led by Chief Zimuto in whose jurisdiction the venue is situated, are also in attendance here.

14:05 – A traditional praise singing procession is led by Chief Zimuto’s grandchild.

14:03 – These rallies are being held under the theme: ‘Honouring Our African Icon – Unlocking Value in Youth.’

14:00 – Zanu PF National Youth Commissar, Innocent Hamandishe is the Master of Ceremonies (MC).

13:59 –  Everyone is up for the singing of the National Anthem.

13:54 – Mucheke stadium roars into life as youths welcome the President

13:46 – President Mugabe arrives and moves around Mucheke Stadium greeting thousands of party supporters aboard an open truck. With the song: ‘Jongwe Rinotonga Rimwechete,’ sounding, Cde Mugabe is actually waving the Zimbabwean flag in the company of Zanu PF Youth League leader, Cde Kudazanai Chipanga.

13:46 -We are also now live on ZBC TV.

The two VPs and Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi at the stadium

13:38 – Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko arrive at the stadium.

11:57 – Thousands now in Mucheke Stadium

11:36 – People who have gathered in the stadium are being entertained by various groups as they await the arrival of the President.

Among the entertainers is Mbare Chimurenga, while Soul Jah Love expected to perform later during the day

10:59 – Remember ZBC TV will broadcast live the rally at Mucheke in the afternoon.

09:56 – Youths in the province have often raised concern that they need to be capacitated financially to enable them to start sustainable projects that will improve their livelihoods

09:54 – Youths in the province expect to benefit from the recently commissioned Tokwe Mukosi dam and the dualisation of Beitbridge – Masvingo – Harare highway

09:53 – People continue to come to Mucheke Stadium B arena. Youths are expected to raise a number of key issues to the President that affect their well being.

PREPARATIONS: Zanu PF youths were happy with Masvingo rally preparations, with a team led by Secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde Kudzanai Chipanga touring the venue:

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Zanu PF youths happy with Masvingo rally preps: ZBC News Online | Jun 28, 2017 | Top Stories |

The Zanu PF National Youth League executive has toured Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo, the venue for this Friday’s Presidential Youth Interface rally.

The executive, led by the Youth League Secretary, Cde Kudzanai Chipanga , held a meeting with the party’s provincial leadership where they were appraised on the state of preparedness with regards to hosting the rally.

The executive commended the party’s Masvingo provincial leadership for the preparatory work done so far. After the meeting, the Youth League members visited Mucheke stadium together with the Zanu PF local leadership.

Pitching of tents that will accommodate guests has since commenced and expectations are that by tomorrow evening all the work will be complete.

Cde Chipanga commended the Zanu PF Masvingo main wing for working together with the youths towards the success of the event. Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Shuvai Mahofa said expectations are that the stadium will overflow with youths on Friday.

The Presidential Youth Interface rallies give youths a platform to present their challenges to President Robert Mugabe and are being held in all the country`s 10 provinces.

Indeed these sights of Mucheke Stadium are testimony that Masvingo is alive

09:10 – At least 50 000 people are expected to attend today’s rally where President Robert Mugabe will listen to the concerns of the youths.

09:08 – MUCHEKE roars into life as youths from all walks of life are already coming through to the stadium for the rally

Political and economic analysts and politicians have concurred that the Zanu PF Youth Interface meetings provide an opportunity for the youth to take a more prominent role in shaping the country’s economic trajectory.

They said through active participation, young people are empowered to play a vital role in their own development as well as in that of their communities.

62 percent of the country’s population is aged between 10 and 24 years and political analysts and politicians said not much development can take place without involving this critical population.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Cde Patrick Zhuwawo said policy makers must also incorporate the young people’s voices as these are the people who are key agents for social transformation and a driving force for economic development.

An analyst, Mr James Makiya applauded the approach taken by Zanu PF to ensure that in every province the focus is highlighted on a particular resource saying that way youths have a better chance of utilising the resources in their area.

The interface meetings are a platform for the government and young people to engage and come up with aggressive strategies that will be used to formulate strong policies and frameworks that will tap into and sustain the potential of young people says political analyst Mr Elton Ziki. Even at the continental level, focus is shifting to empowering the youth.

The African Union theme for 2017 is “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth”.

08:50 – Welcome all, today is a big day in Masvingo, with Mucheke Stadium hosting the third Presidential Youth Interface rally after Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera, Mashonaland East and Sakubva Stadium in Mutare, Manicaland province.