Mliswa waves 'goodbye' to dogged past

HARARE - Member of Parliament (MP) for Hurungwe West Temba Mliswa took his bow in the National Assembly this week in what probably marked the end of a life dogged by controversy.

The Guru, as his mates and rivals call him, is one of the interesting but not only MP who brings to the August House massive sound bites and life to the 8th Parliament dominated by his party, Zanu PF.

There is Joseph Chinotimba, witty, at times amorous but nonetheless committed politician whose free tongue often leaves people in stitches.

Mliswa might not be colourful but is certainly not dour.

Arrested 63 times and acquitted 63 times, Mliswa divides opinion among old politicians and young Zimbabweans whose first impressions of the former fitness trainer remain those of a man of a violent disposition.

But being sworn in as an MP assuming the badge, honourable, Mliswa has finally waved goodbye to a life reminiscent of a pugilist and blood hound.

“Surely, you can’t exist without a past and you can’t separate my past and me. At times when you seek and speak the truth you are misunderstood,” he told the Daily News this week.

“If you follow my track record from rugby and cricket, in sport, it’s because I have always believed where people have been underprivileged, I must step up. At times when you speak the truth you are misunderstood but I don’t think that’s true and I don’t think that must keep somebody quiet.

“I see people being motivated by it, people inspired by it. If one person comes to me and says I am inspired by you in what you are doing, keep going. That’s good enough.”

The fiery empowerment lobbyist and passionate sportsman, was in 2010, arrested on 63 charges relating as far back as 2000.

Mliswa is the owner of Springs Farm in Karoi and was accused of various crimes linked to his interests in farming in that community.

Curiously, most of the charges were slapped after a fall-out with police commissioner general
Augustine Chihuri — whom Mliswa attacked disparagingly without restraint following a business dispute involving a white businessman.

Chihuri had no hand in the arrests, at least according to police.

“My time before the courts has been costly, extremely costly.  I have had to dig into my trust fund which is supposed to look after my kids. That’s probably the saddest part of what I have gone through,” recalled Mliswa.

“I don’t believe in suing the State. For me to be cleared I had to get a lawyer and had to pay a lawyer and I didn’t expect anybody to say sorry for what we did in the past. It could be because that God gave me something to believe that my conscience must be my paymaster. I don’t have to agree with everything that happens.”

Some of Mliswa’s critics remain fixated on his deeds which include violence against opponents and colleagues.

But Mliswa says all those remain in the past.

Instead, he says, God has driven him on the right path, leading to his political journey which commenced with the swearing in ceremony on Tuesday.

“What the Lord ultimately says prevails. His word is final. So if His word is final we are also inspired by the Bible,” said Bible-quoting Mliswa who draws inspiration from Proverbs 19 vs 21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

“I have been inspired by the Bible. I have read the Bible. And here I am today with I what I have gone through.  I have a duty and I cannot stop to discuss my duty because of certain people. There are certain people who believe are bigger than the institution (Zanu PF),” said Mliswa.

“I belong to an institution called Zanu PF and there are objectives I have looked at in Zanu PF which I associate with. When I speak it is because I believe certain objectives in Zanu PF are not being met and it’s only proper that we remind each other of the objectives.”

The Luton-trained Mliswa has never shied away from attacking colleagues in Zanu PF, something his rivals have feverishly tried using in scuppering his political bid, but without success.

He supports the empowerment programme but does not agree with some of its implementation methods.

One of his sore concerns arises from a seemingly friendly attitude towards the Chinese whom he charges have been allowed to “take over” the economy.

If it is not that, Mliswa rails at “corrupt” senior officials in Zanu PF.

“Zanu PF is not a corrupt party. But when I single out corruption, they should not attack me for that because it is within the manifesto that we shall not entertain corrupt activities.

“I don’t see that as a basis of them prosecuting somebody. I believe the good Lord has faith in me. He has gotten me going,” said Mliswa.

The 41-year-old believes the 8th Parliament ushers a new era for a young generation which had been throttled by the old guard for a long time.

“I come from a generation that needs to be part of what is happening in the country, needs to be part of a way forward in terms of growing this country. And (going into politics) it was a personal decision made in view of the fact that I come from a generation that has not been involved.

“At the same time, there was such a political gap between the politicians and certain generations who I believe were supposed to pass on the baton to us. I want to see people’s lives being transformed. I represent a constituency which is marginalised and for some reason I ask myself why are they so behind?

“That touches someone’s heart. For a very longtime we have neglected our people in the rural areas and for that reason one is compelled to say no, this is not the Zimbabwe we want. You cannot talk about an equal Zimbabwe when other areas are not where they should be.”

Mliswa has promised to bring development to Hurungwe West where his involvement before finally contesting dates back to 2005.

“I said to myself how do I contribute to this community and where do I contribute? I am from Hurungwe Central and this is Hurungwe West. I don’t come from there and I don’t have any relatives there,” said Mliswa.

“But for the people of Hurungwe West to vote for me and say this is the person we want, I am marked their own. It was a vote of confidence as a result of what I had done, compassionately, sincerely and genuinely because I sent a message to them that I am not here for power but I am here to see you being part of Zimbabwe and to see you guys having access to education, health and safe water.

“All these issues touched my heart and from the social corporate contribution I said whatever is made from my farm I should plough back to the community. In 2008 they wanted me to stand as an MP but unfortunately the party imposed a candidate and the seat went to the MDC. I have never stopped working with them, as I speak, I am coming up with the solar projects for all the clinics in the area. It is that, that drives me, seeing people’s lives being transformed everyday”.

Mliswa has a strong track record in sport where he was involved with Tennis, Football, Cricket and Rugby.

He does not advocate for a Sports ministry although he says having it would be a bonus.

However, he believes that Zimbabwe should have specialists with intimate knowledge of sport at the helm of key institutions.

“Sport is an industry. I appreciate your profession but I can’t do it.

And at the same time I don’t believe a lawyer is the best person to do sport.

“And I don’t believe a sportsperson is the best person to also stand in court. In this case I am talking of David Coltart (former Sports minister).

“He was a lawyer. I don’t think he understood sport. Because his son is involved in sport that’s not to say he understands sport,” said Miswa.

Mliswa studied sports science at Luton University in the United Kingdom, had many sojourns in the United States and Europe, learning modern sporting science which includes performance techniques.

He is credited with exposing many footballers and rugby players to top conditions which helped them easily adapt to clubs in Europe.

“Being a great chief executive officer of a company does not necessarily mean that you understand the politics of sport. To me most of the people who have come onto sports have no appreciation of sports,” said Mliswa.

Advocating for land for recreational facilities and sports development at grassroots level are among some of the issues he will be bringing to Parliament.

Comments (6)

Shumba yeku shurugwi

Colonel - 7 September 2013

This violent thug should refund all the people he swindled money from when he formed Education UK Pvt Ltd to process visas for prospective students.How can this debt ridden, extortionist, assist the people of Hurungwe-poppycock a load of rubbish I say.This hoodlum is a beneficiary of political patronage and like the rest of all the thieves went to Zanu pf to avoid prison and where they can commit crime with impunity. A repented thief goes back to apologise to his victims not the Press.

Squarebasher - 8 September 2013

Mliswa, Single handilycollapsed Zimbabwe rugby ....this man is what we dont want in Zimbabwe but hey , thugs , thiefs, stupid uneducated fools run the dam country. attending class is not the only education ......this fool thinks he is above reproach......This guy represent everything wrong about being a black Zimbabweans.....

Mike Munyoro - 8 September 2013

Great PR for Thug-life. How much were you paid Mr Journo. Or promised kana ma wind falls epanyanga akuuya.

PR Machine - 8 September 2013

Siyana naColtart!! You are a fitness trainer, so what are you doing at the farm? So it is you alone who can venture into other fields? Simba Makoni was appointed Fin. Minister, did he have the relevant qualification? You are a black racist eh??!!

smoyo - 9 September 2013

Honourable Mp top of your development priority list for hurungwe West should be the the resurfacing of the Magunje-Doro-Makande-Fishing Camp road which is in a sorry state. I'm sure you are aware of what I am talking about assuming your campaigns took you to all corners of your constituency. I hope you will not take the 5 years as an opportunity to doze and dream in parliament but use them bring real change and development to Hurungwe west. We are tired of 'aliens' who use our people to vote them into the august house and subsequently disappear only to resurface at election time

Mdinisi Mangena - 9 September 2013

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