By NQOBANI NDLOVU

THE National Patriotic Front (NPF), a breakaway party from the ruling Zanu PF party, has announced that it will participate in all the by-elections should their suspension over COVID-19 be lifted and that it will use young people to spearhead its campaign.

This comes after NPF lost its sole seat in Parliament which was occupied by the late Kwekwe Central MP Masango Matambanadzo, who died this year.

Government suspended the holding of by-elections scheduled for December 5, citing COVID-19 as the hindrance, although the World Health Organisation announced that elections could still be held in the midst of the pandemic.

More than 35 seats became vacant in the National Assembly after the Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T recalled 32 MDC Alliance MPs. There are also three seats that need to be filled after the death of MPs that include Matambanadzo.

The NPF is made up of former Zanu PF members, former National Youth Service (NYS) graduates, particularly G40 members, who were angling for the presidency before their leaders were forced to flee the country after the November 2017 military coup.

NPF Bulawayo provincial political commissar Andifasi Banda said the political outfit, whose interim leader is former Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi-Moyo, wanted to participate in all the by-elections.

“There was little movement in our restructuring exercise owing to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, however, we are glad to announce that we are now busy carrying out the much important exercise in time for the by-elections,” Banda said.

“We have to and we want to participate in all these by-elections,” he said.

Banda said the NPF had a youth brigade called the Zimbabwe National Youth Service Graduates Association which co-ordinates the opposition party’s campaigns.

The NYS programme, launched by the late Youth minister Border Gezi in 2001, was introduced with the aim of drilling revolutionary and patriotic ideologies into the country’s young citizens.

But Zanu PF was later accused of turning the graduates into a youth militia to harass political opponents.

The programme never had an easy existence as it came under a barrage of attacks with some questioning why children of top government officials never enrolled at the institutions, while others condemned it as a government initiative to brainwash youths and use them for political expediency.
Follow Nqobani on Twitter
@NqobaniNdlovu

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw