Zanu PF injects young blood

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF for a longtime has taken brickbats for freezing out young people from actively participating in the higher echelons of its politics.

But as it edges towards crunch elections, it has sent a message that it is regenerating itself by allowing young candidates participation in the polls.

Our Senior Assistant Editor Guthrie Munyuki interviews one of the youngest Zanu PF candidates, Acie Lumumba, 25, who is contesting in Hatfield Constituency against Investment Promotion and Economic Planning minister Tapiwa Mashakada of the MDC. Below are excerpts of the interview.

Q: What does your participation in the forthcoming harmonised elections represent?

A: The message this sends to the world is that Zanu PF as a party is rejuvenated. Zanu PF as a party has fielded youngest candidates in this election. I am 25 years old. The youngest candidate from all the other parties is not anywhere close to what I am. So what Zanu PF has done is go back to the roots and it has said how do we grow from the bottom up? And it’s not from the top down. That’s the message Zanu PF sends.

The significance of Zanu PF having candidates such as myself, Varaidzo Mupunga and Tendai Wenyika, with us being in our  mid-20s, is that it sends the message to young people that this country is ready to accept their ideas, ambitions and prospects. This country has room for them to play too.

If we were a football team, Zanu PF would be going through a process where it’s now saying where are the new superstars that we can bring into Zanu PF? Gone are the days when MDC was the only party that could brag to say we have this new superstar coming in from this and that school.

Zanu PF can now say that too. It’s bringing in young blood, new blood that actually understands the history of the country and most importantly where this country needs to go.

Q: You say young blood but how prepared are you to win this election given the high political profile of your rival, Mashakada?

A: When it comes to the issue of young blood and preparedness; what matters more is how prepared the people of Hatfield Constituency are to move forward. For the last 8-12 years the people of Hatfield have had to live with a dilapidating community.

Our constituency is broken now more than it was when Zanu PF was in power. We have not seen a single school built in Hatfield, or a single clinic built in Hatfield.

Boreholes have been built with the Constituency Development Fund under the name of development. That’s not development in Harare or in Hatfield. So the people of Hatfield have lost more in the last 12 years than they have gained. So the preparedness is really not on my part; it’s on the part of the voters.

The voters are now prepared to finally move the Hatfield community forward. It’s more about the community than it is about me.

Q: How big is your task given that your colleagues have failed to win in most parts of Harare, including Hatfield, since 2000?

A: The mental is tough. It’s almost like in a football club when your number one star is bought by another club and the club is now weak.

Someone has to rise up to the table and say I will now lead my football club. That’s what happened to me. My team was suffering. My team is Zanu PF. It was suffering in Harare and it was suffering in Hatfield. Some leadership had to come from somewhere so I rose up in the ranks and I said hey, I put my hand up, I am ready to go. 

It’s game on. And that’s really what it is; it’s game on! But more than how big it is, the responsibility on my shoulders, I think I am not running for Member of Parliament for myself but I am running for Member of Parliament because of the people.

I am not asking the people to believe in my abilities, I am asking them to believe in theirs; that they have the ability to change the Hatfield community.

Mashakada, my opponent, does not live in Hatfield. He does not pray in Hatfield. His children do not go to school in Hatfield. I was born and bred in Hatfield. I understand not only the fabric and content of the people of Hatfield but their expectations of government and also Zanu PF, the party. The people of Hatfield have always been Zanu PF this is why before Mashakada they were voting for Zanu PF. It’s the same people that started voting for the MDC simply because their expectations were not met. I understand those expectations because I am one of them. And that’s why I am running for Member of Parliament.

Q: So how do you live up to these expectations?

A: Well number one, I have to allow the people to be involved. This campaign should not be about me. We have opened up the playing circle.

We have over 300 volunteers who have come in who were not in party structures probably never even been involved in politics before. We have church women involved. We have businesswomen and the disabled community involved. Most importantly we have the young people involved. Young people feel as if something special is about to happen in this country. We are about to make history. I am about to be the youngest MP this country has had. So that is a sense of history attached to that, a sense of pride that young people have. We defend it by allowing everybody who wants to be involved to get involved.

Politics should never be about the politician. It should always be about the people. And my campaign is completely about the people.

Mashakada is even afraid to come to Hatfield. He has not held a single meeting in the Hatfield constituency over the last eight years. His own young people from his party are now starting to knock on our doors to say we want to come back home. I ask them why they want to leave MDC and come to Zanu PF. They say Zanu PF has changed.

They are saying we can’t believe Zanu PF has chosen you; if it can place you that means we can now comeback to Zanu PF because all we ever wanted was the opportunity to participate.

Q: What culture of politics will you bring to Parliament if elected?

A: The most important culture of politics is that it has a communication system back to the people. We have MPs we elect and we never hear from them again. An MP has a responsibility to hold weekly meetings in his constituency where he hears the concerns of the people which he then takes back to Parliament and then whatever Parliament decides that same MP must take it back to the people. It’s like a telephone. There has to be one side that’s talking and another side that’s listening. But that had been broken over the last couple of years. There are laws that Parliament is passing that people are not benefitting from simply because they don’t know. For example last week the President launched the new national youth policy. Our MP, Mashakada has never done a single youth project in the constituency.

As chairperson of the Harare Youth Council we have spent over a $1 million funding young businesses here in the Harare Metropolitan city because we believe the people’s ideas must always be supported.

Q: What sort of room is there for the youths to participate in the affairs of this country?

A: The room is now greater than it has ever been. When Zimbabwe was liberated it was the young people, younger than my age that went to war and picked up the fight.

Here now comes the responsibility for our generation. How will we define ourselves? What will be our economic voice, our political voice, our social voice? I am in the political scene.

Politically, there is a lot that give young people so much exposure. I refer back again to the national youth policy, the highlight which is the 25 percent quota. It says everything government does, 25 percent must be reserved for young people.

That means in government boards, government appointment, government employment, government tenders and everything that has to do with government.

This is what the president launched last week. What young people must be thinking about is whether they are prepared to make the most of the opportunities that have been created?

It’s one thing getting the opportunity and it’s another thing knowing what to do with it.

Q: What is your history in Zanu PF?

A: I left the country when I was just about to turn 16 went to and study abroad. I was in the UK and then the US. I left the country when I was young but I grew up in a Zanu PF family.

My father was a Zanu PF member and my mother was a Zanu PF member. While I was away I started appreciating Zanu PF because when you are in the western world, (with) the propaganda that circulates you kind of start missing home and become patriotic than you ever been.

So while I was away that’s when I really became Zanu PF, as a young student. And that’s when I made a decision that I want to come back home and I want to make Zanu PF renew itself. So, Zanu PF is going to get back on its feet. In Hatfield, President (Robert) Mugabe will take that constituency because I am going to give it to him.

That’s my gift to the president for everything he has done to this country!

Comments (13)

Some things never cease to amaze me. This Acie Lumumba dude was sacked from StarFM for defrauding the company through a proxy company that was collecting revenue meant for StarFM. The case is in the public media. That's why him and Tich Mataz were booted. Now he wants to take such rot into parliament. Manje isu vanhu vekuHatfield takangwara. Don't take us for fools. We will put you in your rightful place. You want to bring the "young blood" card when in actually fact you targeting the CDF. Icho!!!!!!

Eye Opener - 4 July 2013

It was Tich Mataz alone and not Acie... Acie was cleared #pointofcorrection

MUDHARA - 4 July 2013

Brave young man. Quarter system ndizvo. But you joined a loosing team. In Harare your party will hardly win any constituency. Prepare yourself for the next 10 to 15 years to come. Maybe by then you may manage to turn around the fortunes of ZPF - not now.

chabeChabe - 4 July 2013

this youngster is lying he will not win this what has he to offer the young people he wasnt even there when they suffered what does he know ? he will never win we are going to see to that

EAGLE EYE - 4 July 2013

The youngman should do some research before proudly opening his mouth if he is to be taken seriously.Just to remind him,there is Tafadzwa Musekiwa who became an MP at 24,Nelson Chamisa at 25 and Mai Mujuru probably much younger than that so he is not breaking any new grounds as he claims.

Mhofu - 4 July 2013

Why is it that Chikurubi Candidates after somehow dodging justice try to find their way into Parliament on zanu pf ticket? Talk of this Lumumba guy, Energy Mutodi, Rushwaya, Temba Mliswa, Munyaradzi Kereke etc

True Patriot - 4 July 2013

Acie does not have 4 O-level's Zim is doomed

aikona - 4 July 2013

Young man you are very silly do you think big guys from your party would want to contest in Hatfield where they know in advance they will never win. its only a matter of fielding a candidate to represent the party otherwise never have a positive dream. You will loose mfana

Tino Munjanga - 4 July 2013

Is this Limumba from DRC. Just asking - the similarity of names is striking

s shumba - 4 July 2013

Really Really youngman?

General Pancho Villa - 4 July 2013

The young boy is correct . MDC hapana zvayakaita muHighfield. Basa rekuba chete. All those comments hadzisi dzevanhu vemunhu Highfield.

Ngawaite - 4 July 2013

CONGRATULATIONS ALCIE LUMUMBA -Viva TEAM ZANU PF ! When you have lived in the diaspora especially in the West, there's no way you can support any party but vaMugabe. Welshman Ncube not liked in diaspora because he wanted all Zimba's forced back home since 2000. Morgan is viewed as a self enriched skirt chaser !

Sekuru Muzeyi - 8 July 2013

mashakada doesnt even care about his constituency..would rather vote LUMUMBA..at least for getting involved with the community

masore - 30 July 2013

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