Cletus Mushanawani in MUTARE
VICE PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga has called on youths not to be abused by misguided politicians to engage in violence.
He was speaking last night during a fundraising dinner dance for Roman Catholic youths in Mutare Diocese who are supposed to attend a pilgrimage in Lisbon, Portugal, for the World Youth Day celebrations with Pope Francis.
VP Chiwenga said the Government will not tolerate political violence, especially as the country moves towards harmonised elections this year.
“May l bring to your attention, especially our young people here present and in the rest of the country, that do not to be used by some misguided politicians to engage in violence for the political mileage of unscrupulous politicians.
“We say no! no! no! to political violence. Peace, love, unity and harmony is what we desire. Let us work together with the church and the State in promoting peace, peace, peace.
“Peace begins with me, peace begins with you, and peace begins with all of us. Don’t be used. Government will not hesitate to bring to book those who want to use young people in a violent manner for political ends,” said VP Chiwenga.
He called on everyone to pray for the country as well as love.
The VP also urged youths to shun drugs and all forms of substance abuse.
“The founder of the World Youth Day celebrations, Saint John Paul 11, once remarked ‘Young people, do not be afraid to risk your life with our Lord Jesus Christ’.
“Contrary to this invitation, today’s young people are risking their lives with drugs and other toxic elements (mutoriro). We cannot afford as a church and as the nation to tolerate this misdirected and self-destructive behaviour.
“I, therefore, call upon all those who work with our young people, be it in church or any organisation to engage rigorously with the young people in trying to help then shun drugs that have destroyed the lives of scores of young people. Risk your life with Christ, not drugs. As Government, we have taken very austere measures to stamp out this menace. Nothing will be spared.”
The dinner dance is meant to raise funds for 30 youths from Mutare Diocese so they attend the Lisbon World Youth Day later this year.
The last World Youth Day celebrations were held in Panama, Latin America, and for the first time since 1982, Mutare Diocese send 12 delegates to this important ecclesiastical event.
The World Youth Day celebrations is a platform given to young people from all over the world to interface with the Pope and to learn and exchange ideas with youths from other nationalities.
VP Chiwenga pledged US$15 000.
The event is expected to raise US$60 000.