The Million Man March of 2016 was a march of organised by the Zanu-PF's Youth League with the stated objective of marching "in solidarity with President Mugabe." The march was announced in April 2016 and was held on 25 May 2016.  Some reports in the media suggested the march's objectives were really about demonstrating against Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa's ambition to succeed Robert Mugabe.
The march was organised during a period of factional fights in Zanu-PF mainly between two factions, one said to be led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, (referred to in the media as the Lacoste Faction), and the other said to be front by the country's first lady, Grace Mugabe (referred to in the media as G40 Faction). Initial announcements of the march were made by Zanu-PF deputy secretary of the Youth League, Kudzanai Chipanga, who had come out several times speaking against the said Lacoste faction and the party's War Veterans, in weeks leading to the march's announcement. War Veterans were reported to be aligned to Mnangagwa's said Lacoste faction.
The first report in the media about the march was carried by the Daily News which reported that the G40 faction was planning a "big anti-Mnangagwa demo" which would be held under the guise of the Women's League and Youth League showing solidarity with President Robert Mugabe. The report quoted the outspoken Sarah Mahoka saying that the Youth organised march "is a noble idea because there are some war veterans who have taken to intimidating our president." The next day, a report in the Herald attempted to clarify the march's purpose with Kudzanai Chipanga saying that the march was not targeted at any leader in the ruling party.
Support of March within Zanu-PF
Later more Zanu-PF leaders came out speaking in support of the march. Late April, the party’s secretary for Information and Publicity, Simon Khaya Moyo said the was not tailored to denounce anyone, but an expression of confidence in party President and First Secretary Mugabe. He also said the party was fully behind it.
War veterans views on sincerity of march
In early March the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) described the march as insincere, with ZNLWVA spokesperson Douglas Mahiya saying:
There is no sincerity in the million-man march. There is no political consciousness. It will not revive industry or bring food on the table. They should, instead, find out from us the formula we used to bring independence. A million-man march, then what? “The march will not stabilise our party’s structures. It is a ploy by the likes of (Zanu PF deputy youth secretary Kudzai) Chipanga and Saviour Kasukuwere (Zanu PF national political commissar) to lull the President into a false sense of security.
That is where we differ. There are war veterans, old men and women sleeping in the same room as their children due to harsh economic conditions, but these people choose to dole out houses to unmarried youths. It does not make sense and just sells out their nefarious and sinister plot.
Mahiya also said ZNLWVA would not attend the march.
Two days before the march however, ZNLWA secretary general Victor Matemadanda came out saying they were “duty-bound to attend tomorrow’s One Million-Man March and celebrate President Mugabe’s successes as a Statesman and leader of the revolutionary party, Zanu-PF." He also said that earlier the problem had been that "People had not been given information and there was a lot of speculation, but that has been rectified. We have been given information and there is no doubt it is in support of the President and we have no reason not to attend."
Cost of the March
To fund the event, the Zanu-PF Youth League raised money by seeking donations from companies in Zimbabwe. The Youth League asked each of the party’s 10 provinces to raise at least US $50,000 to sponsor about 100 000 youths with each member asked to pay $25 towards the event.
Media reports leading to the day of the march said the total cost was expected to exceed US $600,000, and that the bulk of the money had been sourced from government owned companies, private firms some white commercial farmers.
Government media reported that the march was attended by hundreds of thousand of people.
Source of name
- Freeman Razemba, Youths clear air on ‘million men’ march, The Herald, Published:1 April 2016, Retrieved: 24 May 2016
- Lloyd Gumbo, Zanu-PF Youth League disowns Chipanga’s utterances, The Herald, Published: , Retrieved: 24 May 2016
- Mugove Tafirenyika, Fungi Kwaramba, G40 plans big anti-Mnangagwa demo , The Daily News, Published:31 March 2016, Retrieved: 24 May 2016
- ‘Youths demo not targeting individuals’, The Herald, Published:25 April 216, Retrieved: 24 May 2016
- Richard Chidza, Million-man march useless: War vets, NewsDay, Published:11 May 2016, Retrieved: 24 May 2016
- Felex Share, We’re ‘duty-bound’ to attend Million Man-March — war vets, The Herald, Published:24 May 2016, Retrieved: 24 May 2016
- Xolisani Ncube/ Blessed Mhlanga, Million-man march to gobble $600 000, NewsDay, Published:23 May 2016, Retrieved: 24 May 2016
- Zanu-PF’s tour de force, The Herald, Published:26 May 2016, Retrieved: 26 May 2016
- Million Man March, Wikipedia, Retrieved: 24 May 2016