Pastor ventures into politics as MDC candidate

HARARE - In our on-going series of interviews with prospective candidates for the July 31 polls our reporter Fungi Kwaramba (FK) spoke to Simon Chidhakwa (SC) who will be representing the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Zengeza West Constituency against three other candidates.

FK: Tell me about yourself and why you joined politics.

SC: I am an engineer by profession but then diverged into retail about 20 years ago. I was in every line of business, bottle stores, shops, butcheries you name it.

But when I saw that business was no longer viable in 2000 I ventured into land developing where I bought houses, developed them and then resold them — I have also built shopping malls with the idea of giving people sizeable shops which they could afford considering that industries had closed.

FK: There are allegations from some within the MDC who say you belong to Zanu PF and they say you got land in Chitungwiza because of your close ties with Zanu PF.

SC: That’s very unfortunate because all this land I have, I got it during the tenure of the MDC.

Remember most of the councillors did not have anything and I was assisting them to campaign so when I went to them presenting my idea they accepted it and that is how I got the land so it is hogwash for anyone to say I am Zanu PF.

FK: Some say that you are a mafikizolo and only joined politics using money when you realised that the MDC has a chance of forming the next government?

SC: When the MDC was formed in 1999 we were the first people to join the party. We were in business and it should be known that the struggle is fought from different angles I was sponsoring candidates.

In Chitungwiza for instance there is no one person who didn’t go in the trenches without our support if people say I am a newcomer they are probably new to the MDC.

FK: So what drove you to come to the front this time?

SC: There is a time for everything because having seen what people who we selected to get into Parliament or council were doing I thought it was time to join the struggle.

We also learnt that it is easy for a person who has never worked to be corrupted, just look at what they have done here in Chitungwiza. If we continue sitting behind we would watch our party and country destroyed.

FK: Ok so how exactly do you intend to develop Zengeza, do you have new ideas that you are bringing to Zengeza which have not been tried before by your predecessors since 1980 both from Zanu PF and your own party the MDC which is accused of running down towns?

SC: The difference between me and other MPs who were there before me is my Christian background, even before I got into politics I have learnt to share the little that I have.

I am a pastor with the Assemblies of God and I am not getting into politics to get money but to serve the people.

FK: How do you balance dirty politics and being a pastor at the same time?

SC: Everything is dirty. Football which some say is the most beautiful game can be dirty if you play it the wrong way.

I don’t think one becomes a murderer because you are in politics so I got into politics because I wanted to correct things.

FK: Time will tell, so what are your plans for the people of Zengeza?

SC: This constituency has lagged behind in many areas, there is no water, the infrastructure is dilapidated and there is no industry to talk about.

Chitungwiza is quite big and we should have our tertiary colleges for youths to be trained in different trades even in carpentry, so it is important to open up our closed industries for our children.

We had one of the biggest textile industry and it is closed at the moment what is needed are sound policies to bring back investors and open up such factories which used to employ thousands of people.

FK: Still on that what is your view about the indigenisation programme that your opponents in Zanu PF are touting as the panacea to high unemployment?

SC: This indigenisation story is just rhetoric if you can bring me two people who have benefited here in Chitungwiza that would be a miracle; it is only the chiefs that are benefiting because this programme is only a gimmick that will benefit a few individuals, that is why our party the MDC is talking of creating jobs.

Not everyone wants to be a businessman and for that reason our party is agitating to create a million jobs and that is not difficult to do because we only have to open closed industries and attract Foreign Direct Investment through sound and investor friendly policies.

FK: I see, so when was the last time you voted for Zanu PF?

SC: 1980 was the last time I voted for Zanu PF, I didn’t vote since then because there was no reason to. When Zanu PF lost track and started looting and protecting each other, people got frustrated.

When we grew up we never heard of wells in towns but this time wells are everywhere. People are disgruntled.

FK: Did people in your constituency register to vote?

SC: In 1980 people did not have to register and now there are disenfranchised in a free Zimbabwe.

The registration process was designed to bar people from registering. Zanu PF is aware that people in towns are MDC and they wanted to frustrate them.

FK: Have you analysed the distribution of polling stations?

SC: Its worrying because it is designed to frustrate people, whereas in rural areas registration centres were everywhere in urban areas the situation was different and meant to frustrate the urban voter.

FK: Lastly, what is your message to the people in Zengeza East and Zimbabwe in general?

SC: Let’s go and vote no one is going to come here and vote for us, the future is in our hands this is the time to get rid of Zanu PF which has failed to deliver anything for us in the past 33 years.

Comments (5)

Yah sure zanupf failed. My worry are some of us who think zanupf is going to reopen industries they shut down because of wrong policies have they gathered enough courage to admit they wronged with their apatheid laws? Really do you expect zanupf to revive David Whitehead, Cone Textiles, Kadoma Mills, even the parastatal NRZ, really in their minds do these people think zanupf has the capacity. If we think with our brains its time to rest zanupf for a while vodzoka vanakirwa nezvinenge zvaita nyika ivo vasipo. let us not just try to equate others to Chliuba but we all know the best Chiluba did to the people of Zambia was to teach tham that governments come and go and Zambia remains so we should learn that zanupf can come and go, this war mantra must stop else we will tell you the war itself was in vain considering the situation we are in and if it now becomes an excuse to perpetuate thuggery, corruption, brutality, murder, theft, rape and torture then that war must have never been fought. It was fought then for wrong reasons but the cowards who survived the war are the ones who talk too much about it as if they ever killed one RF soldier, all they now learnt to do was to kill us the defenceless ah there they are good at.

wamaromo - 17 July 2013

What hope is there if corruption is this endemic? "That's very unfortunate because all this land I have, I got it during the tenure of the MDC. Remember most of the councillors did not have anything and I was assisting them to campaign so when I went to them presenting my idea they accepted it and that is how I got the land so it is hogwash for anyone to say I am Zanu PF." And he doesnt see anything wrong with that statement?

joe king - 17 July 2013

Cry my beloved town. PASTOR admits to bribing the MDC councillors by funding their campaigns and in return got land. The even more worrying thing is the substandard building which were put up by the PASTOR. You did not mention how you assisted the council to get a loan and how much you got from that deal......CORRUPTION CORRUPTION

chitungwiza - 17 July 2013

Banana, Muzorewa... were Christians but... hei... anyway lets vote for the promising party MDC T.

nosmas - 18 July 2013

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