HARARE-- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Wednesday the ruling ZANU-PF party is deeply concerned by media reports linking former President Robert Mugabe to the newly formed New Patriotic Front (NPF) opposition party.

The NPF, believed by some local media to be the brainchild of the so-called "G40" faction led by former First Lady Grace Mugabe, on Monday named retired brigadier general and veteran liberation war fighter Ambrose Mutinhiri as its leader and presidential candidate in polls set for mid-this year.

Mutinhiri resigned from ZANU-PF and parliament last Friday to protest what he termed "the unconstitutional removal" of former President Robert Mugabe from power.

He then met Mugabe at his Harare residence at the weekend to brief him about his latest initiative.

A statement issued by NPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire Monday said Mugabe congratulated Mutinhiri for taking the bold move and said Zimbabwe needed men and women of principle who should fight to preserve the legacy of the liberation struggle.

Mugabe was also quoted as having urged Mutinhiri to work closely with the youths to enable them to take over the governance of the country in the interest of generational renewal.

Addressing a ZANU-PF youth league national assembly, Mnangagwa said the party was examining the issue and will only take measures once it fully establishes Mugabe's possible involvement in the new opposition party.

"In no time the facts of reality will be made known and we will only take action when we have the facts. But currently, we are not happy with what the media reports are saying. It's an issue we are examining," the president said.

During the meeting, youth league national chairperson Pupurai Togarepi said party youths will be forced to lose respect for Mugabe if he works against the party.

"If he does not act in a responsible manner, we are going to look at him as our new enemy," Togarepi said.

Mugabe resigned last November after a military intervention and was replaced by Mnangagwa.