OPPOSITION Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) youths have thrown down the gauntlet, challenging the ruling Zanu PF party in what promises to be a bruising fight for the Bikita West by-election set for January 21.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
ZimPF, led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, is being represented by Kudakwashe Gopo in its inaugural electoral contest, since expelled former Zanu PF stalwarts coalesced to form a political party out of the ashes of a faction that had been engaged in a bitter fight for control of the ruling party.
The opposition party’s youth wing, led by interim chairperson, Lucky Kandemiri, said they intended to use Bikita West as a barometer to measure the party’s strength and “show Zanu PF we are not scared”.
“We want to send a clear statement to Zanu PF. Our youths are now fully operational in Bikita West to drum up support for Gopo. We are aware of Zanu PF and its dirty tricks, but we are not intimidated.
“Our youths are ready to win the election for a person who is young and one they can identify with. We are a party with youths at heart, and that is the reason why we have a good number of them in our camp,” he said.
Gopo will lock horns with Zanu PF’s Beauty Chabaya, independent candidate, Heya Shoko, a former MP for the area, Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Terrence Makumbo, another independent candidate, Innocent Muzvimbiri, and National Constitutional Assembly’s Madock Chivasa.
ZimPF interim national youth spokesperson, Khulani Ndlovu weighed in, urging party youths to “vote in their numbers to confirm the party’s existence on the Zimbabwean political landscape”.
“It is high time we proved that the future of politics in Zimbabwe lies with the young generation and the involvement of youths at the highest level.
“The idea of having a young candidate is meant to inspire the youth to take part. The by-election comes at a critical time as we are preparing for the big one in 2018,” he said.
Mujuru will address a star rally in the constituency next week. Bikita West fell vacant following the 10-year imprisonment of former legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke (Zanu PF) for raping a minor at gunpoint.