By agencies| Floyd Mayweather, a former world boxing champion, made an appearance at a political campaign event in Zimbabwe on Thursday, as part of the ruling party’s strategy to attract young voters ahead of the upcoming general election next month.
According to the Reuters, Mayweather received a warm welcome from supporters of the ZANU PF party in Mabvuku, one of Zimbabwe’s oldest townships located on the outskirts of the capital city, Harare. The attendees greeted him with song and dance.
Scott Sakupwanya, a prominent ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and a gold magnate aiming to regain a parliamentary seat from the opposition, revealed that he had extended the invitation to Mayweather. Speaking to Reuters at the rally, Sakupwanya stated, “People doubted my claim that I would bring Mayweather, but he is here. This demonstrates that the promises I make during this election will be fulfilled.”
The 46-year-old retired American boxer captivated the crowd with a public workout, showcasing his boxing skills and engaging in activities like punching and jumping rope. He also took the opportunity to observe three matches involving Zimbabwe’s aspiring boxers.
Some of the young people present at the rally pledged their support for 80-year-old President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seeking a second term in the upcoming election on August 23. White Marurame, a 34-year-old attendee, expressed his enthusiasm about Mayweather’s visit, stating, “I am delighted to see Mayweather here in Zimbabwe. This is his first visit. I am a registered voter, and I will vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa.”
The youth vote is anticipated to be a significant battleground for the two major political parties: ZANU PF and the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).
The election takes place against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis, marked by high inflation and a steep decline in the value of the local currency against the U.S. dollar, with the latter experiencing a decline of over 50% in the previous month.