DESPITE attracting laughter for promising WiFi instead of jobs and other social amenities for votes, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and his campaign team are now offering free driving lessons.
Ncube is eyeing Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park parliamentary seat on a Zanu PF ticket.
It is the first time that the former chief economist and vice-president of the African Development Bank is contesting an election.
Early this week, his campaign team was in Cowdray Park offering free driving lessons to the jobless youth.
Zanu PF Bulawayo spokesperson Archibold Chiponda said there was nothing sinister about the campaign strategy.
“The youth league has been running with this programme for a while now,” Chiponda said.
“So Cowdray Park youths also showed interest and appealed that they not be left behind.
“The minister pledged to give them the necessary support by bringing the lessons closer to them not in town, to help on transport costs.”
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However, residents are not convinced, saying this was a campaign gimmick.
A Cowdray Park youth Nontokozo Ndlovu said: “It is clearly a campaign strategy but all that we need are employment opportunities not driving lessons.”
Another resident Yolanda Sibanda said they needed good roads, water and other social amenities.
“So what happens when we get drivers’ licenses? Under normal circumstances, we could be happy, but this is not a priority for us. We can always find ways of getting the licences but what we want are jobs and better living standards,” Sibanda said.
But the Zanu PF Bulawayo spokesperson said the driving lessons were an empowerment tool for the jobless youth.
“Driving is a skill and with that skill, youths can get employed. We are just answering to a need,” Chiponda said.
“When Zimbabweans are empowered, the party benefits because it's the governing Party. So far over 1000 Youths have registered for the lessons.”
Ncube is likely to face CCC politician Thokozani Khupe in the elections.
In a social media campaign message which has gone viral, Ncube promised to install Wi-Fi in the constituency to enable communication.