Byo must heed Pres­i­dent’s calls

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion - Nduduzo Tshuma

ZANU-PF Bu­l­awayo Prov­ince must heed Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s calls to re­tain lost seats to the MDC-T by unit­ing and work­ing to­wards one goal of de­feat­ing the op­po­si­tion. Ad­dress­ing the 9th Pres­i­den­tial Youth In­ter­face rally at White City Sta­dium, a stone’s throw from the home of his late deputy and one of the found­ing fa­thers of the coun­try’s lib­er­a­tion, Dr Joshua Nkomo in Pe­land­aba, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe called on the party lead­er­ship to “wake up” and re­claim the prov­ince.

The prov­ince, rich in lib­er­a­tion history with in­sti­tu­tions like Stan­ley Hall, Stan­ley Square and McDonald Hall, rep­re­sent­ing the nascent stage of the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle, has been dom­i­nated by the op­po­si­tion from 2000 to 2015, a phe­nom­ena Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe said should be changed.

The rul­ing Zanu-PF in the 2015 by-elec­tions man­aged to end the MDC-T dom­i­nance in the city by win­ning back six seats, which should be the start­ing point.

The Zanu-PF leg­is­la­tors, two years af­ter elec­tion, have proved how Bu­l­awayo had since 2000 to the time of the by-elec­tions in 2015, been or­phaned in terms of rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The MDC-T had de­ployed to Par­lia­ment po­lit­i­cal mis­fits from for­mer post­men, net­ball coaches to mes­sen­gers whose awe to be at the au­gust House was so over­whelm­ing that they for­got the peo­ple who got them there.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe in his ad­dress, said the in­ter­face which at­tracted thou­sands of party sup­port­ers re­sem­bled a reawak­en­ing of the party in a prov­ince gen­er­ally re­garded as a strong­hold of the op­po­si­tion.

“Abadala bal­apha vukani. Get up and re­gard this as an obli­ga­tion, obli­ga­tion to get Bu­l­awayo on top and not al­low (MDC-T leader, Mr Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai and (MDC-T deputy pres­i­dent, Ms Thokozani) Khupe to be ahead of you,” he said.

“Let Bu­l­awayo re­gard this as a reawak­en­ing. The meet­ing, this in­ter­face is a reawak­en­ing of Bu­l­awayo, a new reawak­en­ing, a new reawak­en­ing and we shall not again be seen lack­ing in sup­port of our party Zanu-PF,” he said.

“We want change, Bu­l­awayo must change. I’m glad that so many have come out. It’s the sec­ond city to Harare and we can’t af­ford to be los­ing it.”

“We shall not al­low the op­po­si­tion to take the lead. No! That is a pledge we must make. If it means stay­ing awake or­gan­is­ing the peo­ple and sleep­ing only three, four hours, let’s do so. Let’s do so in the in­ter­est of our city in the in­ter­est of our peo­ple,” he said.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe chal­lenged Bu­l­awayo to em­u­late the two Mata­bele­land prov­inces where the rul­ing party is dom­i­nat­ing.

“ELu­pane they showed us that les­son. It was ex­cel­lent there. But we know we’ve had prob­lems here koBu­l­awayo, but any­way those who came out were many but it could have been bet­ter. It is a start,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent said peo­ple from Mata­bele­land North and South must help Bu­l­awayo.

“Peo­ple from eMa­to­jeni, peo­ple from Plumtree, Lower Gweru et cetera, you can spare some time to help Bu­l­awayo to re­deem it­self,” he said.

As the coun­try heads to­wards elec­tions next year, it is im­por­tant for the prov­ince to work hard to­wards mo­bil­is­ing sup­port­ers and en­cour­ag­ing them to reg­is­ter to vote un­der the new Bio­met­ric Voter regis­tra­tion.

To their credit, Bu­l­awayo Prov­ince which in re­cent months ex­pe­ri­enced chaotic scenes lead­ing to vi­o­lent clashes at the Davies Hall party of­fices, has man­aged to heal the di­vi­sions and started work­ing as a unit.

The im­por­tant re­al­i­sa­tion that di­vi­sions would only help in giv­ing the op­po­si­tion the ad­van­tage, shows not only po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity but de­ter­mi­na­tion to change the for­tunes of the party in the prov­ince.

The unity of pur­pose was proved by the suc­cess­ful host­ing of the 9th Pres­i­den­tial Youth In­ter­face Rally whose numbers im­pressed Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe.

The Head of State, how­ever, said there was po­ten­tial that the prov­ince could have or­gan­ised more peo­ple which is what the pro­vin­cial struc­tures should now di­rect their ef­forts on.

Even na­tional sec­re­tary for youth af­fairs, Cde Kudzanai Chipanga had kind words on the or­gan­i­sa­tion of Bu­l­awayo to­wards the in­ter­face.

Af­ter the Pres­i­dent’s ad­dress, the Zanu-PF Bu­l­awayo pro­vin­cial struc­tures met to strate­gise on the elec­tions with the struc­ture’s chair­per­son Cde Den­nis Ndlovu em­pha­sis­ing on unity.

Be­sides be­ing a guide to the Zanu-PF struc­tures, Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe’s calls should also be heeded by the cit­i­zens of Bu­l­awayo not to re­peat the mis­take of elect­ing chancers into Par­lia­ment or any of­fice for that mat­ter.

For the Bu­l­awayo Zanu-PF struc­tures, the job to re­claim the seats is the eas­i­est at a time the MDC-T is im­plod­ing due to a num­ber of chal­lenges rang­ing from fac­tional di­vi­sions to Mr Ts­van­gi­rai’s health.

Ef­forts to form a coali­tion of op­po­si­tion par­ties have also failed so re­ally there is noth­ing stand­ing in the way of the Zanu-PF recla­ma­tion ex­er­cise.

This is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity for Bu­l­awayo Prov­ince, which for many years has lagged be­hind other prov­inces to come to the party.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe

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