The Sunday News
Vincent Gono, Features Editor
A RECORD 17 candidates will battle it out for the Mpopoma-Pelandaba National Assembly seat in the country’s harmonised elections scheduled for 30 July amid calls for people to vote for a responsive and people centred party — Zanu-PF.
Incumbent National Assembly member Cde Joseph Tshuma of Zanu-PF, however, believes if people vote for real articulation of issues affecting them and avoid being blown away by the wind that confined them to poverty and squalor for the last decade until 2015 when he won the seat, he will win the constituency.
He said he and his supporters have started doing door to door campaigns in the constituency, adding that the response was massive, overwhelming and encouraging.
“I got into Parliament in 2015 when the people of Mpopoma-Pelandaba were left exposed like sheep without a shepherd after the MDC-T had split for the umpteenth time. I got in and hit the ground running. Issues affecting Bulawayo as a whole were debated in Parliament with a vigour last seen decades ago and a number of things were fixed. What guarantee do people have that the MDC which continue to have suffixes will not split again when it has happened before,” he asked.
He added that although there were 17 contestants battling it out for the constituency from parties such as Zapu, MDC-T, People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC), Build Zimbabwe, Alliance for People’s Agenda (APA), two independent candidates and a lot others from other little known political parties, the real tug-of-war was between Zanu-PF and MDC Alliance — whose candidate was Councillor Charles Ndlovu, the incumbent councillor for Ward 9. Another candidate is youthful Nhlanhla Moyo, a university graduate from South Africa contesting under the Alliance for People’s Agenda (APA) ticket.
Mpopoma-Pelandaba constituency is made up of Ward 9 and Ward 11 with suburbs such as Matshobane, Iminyela, Mabutweni, Mpopoma and Pelandaba. Cde Tshuma said although there were no bridges, dip tanks and roads to construct or make promises on, much of the energy in cities and towns was expended on making sure enough noise was made in Parliament so that service provision was top notch and to ensure people got employment.
Cde Tshuma has not been found wanting, something that has earned him a lot of praise from people in his constituency.
He said for his brazen efforts he has been branded a loose canon and a loud mouth by a political section of society that was not used to voicing the concerns of the people they represented.
He said leadership’s silence on critical issues affecting people was playing a part in the economic failure of Matabeleland as a region but paid tribute to the President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led new dispensation which he said was ready to take the country to new economical heights.
Cde Tshuma made noise about Mpilo Central Hospital’s cancer unit which was down and it was fixed. He has spoken strongly about the opening of Ekusileni Medical Centre that was a brainchild of Dr Joshua Nkomo and action is being taken.
The hospital was completed more than 16 years ago but has not been fully functional since it closed its doors some years ago.
On companies Cde Tshuma singled out the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Cold Storage Company (CSC), saying their collapse have left many people destitute.
“If you look at what is happening to the NRZ, it really affects people from my constituency because that is where the majority used to work. I am particularly happy that there has been some movement in the positive direction and I hope things will ultimately turn for the better in terms of employment creation and rehiring of staff,” he said.
Moyo of APA says he has done a lot of community work in his Psychology training and has also been participative in student politics particularly in the highly volatile #FeesMustFall, which turned into one of the most dramatic mass actions more than two decades after South Africa’s democratic transition.
Born and bred in Bulawayo and having spent a number of years away from home Moyo said it was time to make amends. He claims to identify with a lot of the youth.