Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
AMID a nation’s watchful gaze, the ruling Zanu-PF party is holding its primary elections for the upcoming harmonised national elections. What is unique about this election is the participation of a diverse group of people, from technocrats to seasoned politicians, and the young.
The number of applicants has been so high that the party was forced to delay the internal polls initially set for last Saturday. After Monday’s Politburo meeting, President Mnangagwa declared today as the day of the election with 99,9 percent of the candidates cleared to participate in the internal polls.
All provinces will hold primary elections today except for Midlands and Masvingo who will conduct the polls tomorrow.
The stakes are high as the winners of this election will represent the party in the 2023 Harmonised Elections.
President Mnangagwa has already been endorsed as the ruling party’s sole candidate for the presidency.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Obert Mpofu said under President Mnangagwa’s leadership, the ruling party has seen real transformation which has charmed the youth.
“President Mnangagwa has opened the democratic space and this has seen more young people who love the party taking part in the democratic processes of the party. The President is leading the process from the front. He is hands-on and has personally initiated development projects and commissioned them. “His work ethic has inspired the youth to join the party. We have seen a flurry of new members, some from the main opposition joining the party on daily basis,” said Dr Mpofu.
He said to prove that Zanu-PF is democratic and inclusive, it has even allowed returnees to participate in the primary elections.
Dr Mpofu said all these measures speak to the progressive policies that President Mnangagwa has spearheaded as he moves to leave no one behind on development.
He called for those participating in today’s primary polls to be peaceful as the will of the people must prevail.
Dr Mpofu said the party does not expect intimidation or coercion of voters.
Among the young people participating in the election is Cde Sithabisiwe Mathema, vying for the Nkayi North National Assembly seat. She will be locking horns with the incumbent Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, who is the Minister of Women Affairs, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.
Cde Albert Mavunga (38) is also participating in the Nketa Constituency primary election seat. Having served in the party for years, he believes he is ready to take community matters to Parliament.
“I have been a member of Zanu-PF for a long time. I understand the issues that affect the Nketa community and the people have chosen me to represent them in the primary polls. While I’m a young person, I have been in the party for a long time and I think I will be in a position to work towards advancing President Mnangagwa’s vision.”
Mangwe legislator Cde Hlalani Mguni believes that Zanu-PF is a party of choice and represents the aspirations of the majority.
“Zanu-PF is a revolutionary party and as a candidate, I’m inspired by our President. I believe the President’s leadership and his momentum are what have drawn me to the party and made the party popular,” she said.
Political analyst Mr Teddy Ncube said the increased interest in Zanu-PF primary elections shows that the party practices internal democracy and is maturing with time. He also notes that Zanu-PF’s policies resonate with a lot of young people, which explains their increased participation in electoral processes.
“The increased participation of young people in Zanu-PF shows that Zanu-PF is a grassroots political party and all along Zanu-PF has been winning elections because it has been a political party with all the stakeholders. It undoes the myth that Zanu-PF is a political party of a group of old people. In actual fact Zanu-PF has always had these people, who are eligible to campaign in these primary elections are people who have had experience at district level for the past five years,” said Mr Ncube.
He said the increased interest of youths in Zanu-PF politics dismantles the claim the majority of young people support the opposition.
Mr Ncube said the ruling party should also be credited for its mobilisation strategy which has seen more people wanting to associate with Zanu-PF.
He said while opposition parties have been in disarray in the past five years, the ruling party has intensified
“Zanu-PF has been talking about economics, business, employment creation, it has been talking a lot about business development and youth empowerment. So these are other issues that have captured the interest of young people and young people will obviously go to a political party that speaks to issues that are relevant to their existence,” said Mr Ncube.
“Young people today are all about jobs, business, mining, agriculture and these are things that Zanu-PF has been talking about. It is not surprising that Zanu-PF has all these young people in these structures. The other thing could be the party’s mobilisation strength, Zanu-PF has been on a full-scale campaign to lure young people into its structures.”–@nqotshili
Article Source: The Chronicle