A BUNCH of rowdy Zanu PF youths disrupted a meeting convened by the United States embassy in Masvingo on Wednesday night forcing it to end prematurely after they started heckling speakers and shouting their usual sanctions mantra.
They also assaulted Daily News reporter Godfrey Mtimba who was taking photographs, tearing his jacket in the process.
The youths, who were visibly drunk, stormed the venue of the US President Barack Obama’s Washington Fellowship Young African Leaders Initiative at the Charles Austin Theatre.
Corra-Leigh Magiya, an official from the US embassy in Harare, was forced to end proceedings after the youths, who also outnumbered the invited participants, mobbed her and demanded that Washington first lift sanctions against Harare.
They were also angered by reports that US President Barrack Obama has not invited President Robert Mugabe to the US-Africa Summit in August.
“Why did Obama exclude our president from the summit? First remove your sanctions before you pretend to want to help us
. . . Masses are suffering because of the sanctions. We do not need your scholarship,” shouted Zanu PF youth league national deputy political commissar Talent Majoni.
Magiya frantically tried to explain that she was not the right person to comment on the issue of sanctions and that she had just come for the specific initiative, but her voice was drowned by the aggressive youths who interjected her every response.
She eventually adjourned the meeting fearing for the safety of the participants.
The US president’s young African leadership initiative was launched in 2010. It seeks to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance and enhance peace and security across the continent.
The programme will host 50 participants from Zimbabwe this year for a week-long visit to US universities.