ZANU PF Bulawayo youth league members elected into the national executive have thrown their hats into the race for positions in the top six as campaigning intensifies ahead of the elective congress over the weekend in Harare.
The deputy secretary for youth affairs post is expected to be hotly contested. The incumbent, Edison Chakanyuka from the Midlands, is the number two in charge of the youth league after Absolom Sikhosana – a member of the Zanu PF politburo.
Manicaland and Harare provinces are said to be advocating for a rotational system.
Mpehlabayo Malinga, Myra Ngozo, Butholezwe Ngwenya and Sibongile Sibanda were elected to represent Bulawayo in the league’s national elective congress.
Malinga, also a central committee member, is said to have shown interest in one of the national youth league’s top six.
He told Southern Eye that he would accept nomination at congress.
“It’s up to the party members from the region to decide to nominate me and I will accept the nomination,” Malinga said.
It was not immediately clear which post he was eyeing, but the second strategic post of deputy secretary for youth affairs which catapults the winner into the party’s politburo is a coveted position.
The provincial youth chairpersons are the ones tasked with electing the top six positions.
Malinga is now the leader of the party’s Bulawayo youth league while Ngozo, Ngwenya and Sibanda would hold deputy secretary portfolios in the national executive and are awaiting endorsement by congress.
Malinga, takes over from Khumbulani Mlilo, who is the current youth league national secretary for transport and social welfare. Mlilo dramatically lost in the primaries to Ngozo.
Party sources told Southern Eye that Mlilo was briefly arrested on Saturday during party primary elections after he instructed voters to take photographs of their ballots with cellphones to prove that they voted for him.
Mlilo subsequently lost the elections to Ngozo after getting 10 votes compared to the latter’s 14.
The sources said four members had followed Mlilo’s instructions during voting that was conducted through a secret ballot.
“Just before elections in Nkulumane district, Mlilo instructed voters to take photographs of their ballots and show him the picture to prove that they voted for him. Four girls took pictures, but when one member called Pretty was nabbed, she implicated Mlilo. Police were called in and took statements. The other three girls deleted the pictures,” the source said.
Mlilo was not reachable for comment.
Mashonaland West youths are reportedly pushing for the imposition of President Robert Mugabe’s son Robert (Jr) as youth league leader saying that would stem rampant factionalism.