Mutinhiri, Khupe parties vow to challenge for all seats, wards

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Staff Reporter

THE Zanu PF and MDC-T breakaway factions say they have enough personnel in their ranks to field candidates in all the country’s 210 parliamentary constituencies and in nearly 2000 wards.

The National Patriotic Front (NPF) is headed by former Mashonaland East provincial Affairs Minister Ambrose Mutinhiri while the other MDC-T is headed by former party Vice President Thokozani Khupe.

Speaking at a public meeting to discuss elections this past week, NPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said the Zanu PF off-shoot would challenge for every seat and ward in the country.

“We are a new political party, we are going to announce our structure and we have processes that we are doing, and we are working on the ground and part of the mobilisation that we are doing is centred upon candidate selection,” Mawarire said, adding that they were “definitely” fielding candidates in all seats up for grabs and the 1,958 wards.

Until scenes of a well subscribed NPF’s first ever public meeting went viral on social media, few were giving the new party any chance in the coming elections.

Many said the party would find it tough to gain any traction as it was brandishing around the unpopular figure of former President Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in a popular military coup November last year.

Dividing Zanu PF vote

Except for a few G40 loyalists who fell by the wayside when Mugabe lost his authority, there were no signs of any grassroots support, let alone candidates who were prepared to represent the fledgling political grouping in the July polls.

The party denies it was formed with the sole purpose of dividing the Zanu PF vote.

Similarly, few give Khupe a chance to assembly enough candidates to field in the 210 contested seats, an additional 60 proportional ones and even more, the senatorial seats.

This is after the former deputy Prime Minister, who claims to be the legitimate MDC-T leader in the current wrangle, failed to attract mainstream party politicians to her side, ending up settling for a handful civil society activists to fill up top positions in her executive.

Among these was firebrand activist Linda Masarira who made the long trip to Bulawayo to few days ago to assume the position of party spokesperson.

Gender balance

Speaking at the same occasion attended by Mawarire, Masarira said Khupe was the only politician in the country who has managed to balance gender in her executive, adding that the MDC-T offshoot will challenge for all seats up for grabs.

“It is the first party with 50-50 percent gender equality in the standing committee, it is the first party with 40 percent youth in the standing committee in Zimbabwe.

“And we want to ensure that we will have a candidate selection where we are going to have a zebra listing of candidates 110 female, 110 male,” Masarira said.