The team, which comprises university graduates, lawyers and businesspeople, has already been dispatched to drum up support for the party, whose future is hanging by a thread.
According to documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent, the team will work directly with President Robert Mugabe.
“Zanu PF has put together a youth-centred election team comprising members of the youth league and professionals working for the party to spearhead its campaign in the forthcoming harmonised elections,” one document reads. “The team is intending to appeal to the youth vote and counter the influence of the MDC-T, especially in the urban areas.
“The team will directly work under President Mugabe and its members and the President will address youth-focused star rallies across the country. The team will also lead door-to-door campaigns throughout the country.”
Members of the national youth league in the team include deputy youth secretary and politburo member Eddison Chakanyuka, secretary for administration Leslie Ncube, political commissar Mike Gava, secretary for indigenisation Innocent Hamandishe and deputy secretary for administration Varaidzo Mupunga.
The other members are Harare youth league chairman Jim Kunaka, director in the office of the secretary for administration Charity Moyo, director for indigenisation and economic empowerment Kurai Masenyama, and deputy director transport and welfare Balldon Mandengu.
Some of the people outside the party structures Zanu PF wants to rope in to the team are executive director of the Zimbabwe Youth Council Livingstone Dzikira and Harare lawyer and Hwange board chairperson Farai Mutamangira.
Zanu PF’s campaign mantra for the general election is empowerment of indigenous Zimbabweans –– a message which the party is preaching to attract new voters.
To woo young voters, the party is awarding them state-funded business ventures. More than 6 000 youths have so far benefited from the youth empowerment fund.
Gava told the Independent this week that: “We hope to change people’s perceptions that Zanu PF youths are violent. We want this election campaign to be done in a peaceful environment that is why we have included young professionals and university graduates in the youth league.
“This team was set up after the realisation that the youths make up a huge percentage of the electorate.”
Following dismal performances by the party’s old guard in certain provinces like Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland, Zanu PF is planning to field mostly young candidates in a move aimed at winning the youth vote.
In addition to wooing young voters, Zanu PF has come up with strategies targeting churches, businesspeople, women, communal farmers and urban dwellers.
The campaign team is being set up amid fierce infighting in the party ahead of elections.