In a YARD National Management Command Meeting, convened on Saturday, the 23rd of July 2016, the YARD National Executive ratified the resolution to allow and support the decision to have its Founder and Commander-in-Chief (FCiC), Temba Mliswa stand as a candidate for the now vacant Norton Constituency seat.

The vacancy was created following the arbitrary expulsion of Chris Mutsvangwa from the ZANU PF party, and the subsequent recalling of the war veteran from Parliament.

Temba Mliswa, a former ZANU PF Provincial Chairman for Mashonaland West, was expelled from ZANU PF during the indiscriminate party purges of 2014. Upon his expulsion, he immediately went on to contest in the 2015 Hurungwe West by-election as an Independent Candidate where he lost by a narrow margin.

The by-election, was however, marred by violence, human rights abuses and intimidation. During an appeal against the winning candidate in Hurungwe West, the Constitutional Court ruled that one does not have to be a registered voter in the Constituency that they may want to stand as a Member of Parliament for, but simply to be a registered voter. It is therefore important that this ruling is put to the test as well as to use the Norton by-elections as a litmus test in observing how well the ruling party and Government are aligning themselves with electoral reforms.

The by-election will further act as a barometer in understanding ZANU PF's strength in rural areas, Norton Constituency being a peri-urban constituency. The recent ZANU PF win in Mazowe North would appear to indicate that the ZANU PF party still maintains an iron grip in the rural areas; whether by fair means or foul is up for debate, however the result remains in their favour and shows that the rural communities continue to be the areas where most work is required to see any meaningful democratic change.

In a statement from YARD, the spokesperson, Tinotenda Mhungu said that the organisation relishes the prospect of taking ZANU PF head on in an election, "The National Executive has determined and deemed it fit to support and win the Norton by-election for the people of Zimbabwe. Our Founder & Commander-in-Chief, Hon. Temba Mliswa is the epitome of capacity and a people serving leader. This election will be the election of the people of Zimbabwe against a corrupt Government. It will be the consolidated efforts of all Zimbabweans from opposition parties, organisations and movements such as Tajamuka, #ThisFlag and of people who have been affected and infected by the brutal failure of the regime pitted against the Government of ZANU PF. Beyond the love that the FCiC has for the people, he is always going to bring the best fight out of ZANU PF."

During his tenure as the Mashonaland West Provincial Chairman, Temba Mliswa was actively involved in numerous developmental projects and housing schemes in the Norton Area, of note being the Kingsdale housing scheme where he fought tirelessly to prevent the unwarranted eviction of the Kingsdale community. YARD acknowledges his selfless drive to serve as well as his passion towards people empowerment and therefore recognises the positive contributions that are set to benefit the Norton Constituency on the ground and as a voice in Parliament pending Mliswa's successful election bid.

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