Maguranyanga's pro-sport councillor dream

HARARE - Well-known fitness man, Gerald Maguranyanga has dived into the political ring to help gore out of the way the nonsense that has been bedevilling this former Sunshine City.

Maguranyanga has an amazing story. From being a UK-taught rugby coach, an IAAF-certified athletics coach, a highly-rated and registered fitness coach, a head of department at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2005, a trained pilot and now to diving into the political arena where he is contesting as a councillor.

“Literally, my surname means ‘sever horns’. At the moment though, I need to get a little tougher and grow horns for the tough campaigning task at hand, and even the tougher task of realigning the city operations with best practice, should the ward 28 residents love me enough to trust me with the councillor-ship,” Maguranyanga tells the Daily News on Sunday.

The colourful, loud and verbose former long-serving Zimbabwe Warriors men’s national soccer team fitness man, also widely associated with the female version, the Mighty Warriors has had a stint at the rugby version, the Sables, is running for councillor in ward 28, Glen Norah, an area he is so familiar with, “like the back of my dark and lovely hand.” I warned you, he is quick with his mouth.

The Daily News on Sunday quickly posited, why councillor and not MP?

“The position of councillor is key, operational and not law making and certainly not national in outlook. I would also like to help kill the unhelpful legacy of the old dispensation that degenerated deliverables by elevating council’s service delivery issues into partisan party politics — a truly unhelpful position,” he said.

“I love delivering solutions and initiating ideas on the ground.”

The City has shirked on its key deliverables such as constructing and maintaining roads, refuse collection, health facility provision, recreational facilities and the big one, provision of clean tap water.

“Where’s the clean water out of the taps?” Maguranyanga quizzes rhetorically.

Maguranyanga is a deeply spiritual man.

“Look, I am not perfect but I continuously strive to learn from the people I revere — Pastor Tom Deuschle of Celebration Ministries. I have been taught to be a community builder. That’s who I am and not just an ordinary politician out to lie to the people and make a quick buck,” he said.

The biblical lesson had to come: “My biggest idol is Jesus Christ,” he points out matter of factly. “We need a fresh brand of politics in Africa and not talking and not delivering or leading and stealing from the public purse.”

He shoots from the hip: “In China they will execute you for corruption after a fast track trial.  In Africa, we kiss you on your bum and idolise you. Shame.”

Maguranyanga’s beautifully designed manifesto, quotes Mother Theresa, Paul Mkondo, Tsitsi Masiyiwa,  all of whom he says are figures that “light up my backside”. He is inspired by the messages of Deuschle’s wife, gospel trendsetter Bonnie.

“I love the message of peace constantly preached by Zanu PF MP Fortune Chasi in his songs. Which he has done for years,” he said.

And on young people in their 30s and 40s taking up political positions, Maguranyanga said: “It’s unprecedented the emergence of young persons. It’s clear the old political dispensation did not encourage that. It was previously a hard hat area.”

Maguranyanga says leadership is not something you just wake up to and hey presto, by some abra ca da bra magical trick, “you are in the forefront”.

“At Chembira school in the same ward 28 when I was about 27 or so I would return to give back by leading the SDC at the school and within one year, I had led in drilling a borehole with funds wholly sourced by a raffle I ran. The borehole remains functional and fully utilised to date,” he said.

“I was a ZRU board member in 1995 at age 23, a world record then. I was a whole head of department at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2005. I have led in many roles in my life.  I will give President Emmerson Mnangagwa credit for somehow enabling a better environment. Far from perfect but a mountain has been moved. The people have started to dream again.”

A business and leisure trip last year to the United States allowed Maguranyanga to tour the major political and historical establishments in the first capital state of the United States, Pennsylvania and the capital, Washington DC, inspired him.

Martin Luther King Jnr’s iconic statue in Washington DC stoked his fires.

“The late Cde Chinx served my introduction to politics with his ‘insane, hyponotising’ music. I deeply loved the late General Solomon Mujuru, Rex Nhongo in his earlier days. His famous video at a demobilisation camp in which he is depicted prancing about remains unforgettable. My initial determination after the US trip was to come back home and confront the Mugabe administration which had drastically curtailed freedoms and was dragging the country into the abyss,” he said.

“Thanks to events of November 14 and that period, there has been a huge shift, in my opinion. Much remains to be done to restore Zimbabwe to normalcy but we are on a different trajectory as a nation. The mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has gone out guns blazing. He has railed at current councillors for being out of their depth.”

He has also been dealt a tough card. In 2007, he suffered a major back injury, after something went wrong while exercising. He has endured two major back surgeries, and has endured rehabilitation with physiotherapists, biokineticist and fitness trainers. He has made major improvements though he says, at his age, after major back surgery, you are never the same.

“The fitness door closed but others opened,” he said.

Widely travelled across Africa, Europe and South America and the United States, Maguranyanga says he is learning “treble-fast” the political ropes but declares he wants to bring in a refreshing brand of politics and wants to bring into council a truly globally inspired perspective.

“I will be identified by my faith first. I am a Christian first and foremost, who loves God and then my neighbour as demanded by my faith. So I thrive around people and I love big cities; the complexity and the history and the promise of a big city lights up the rockets on my backside and simply fires me,” he added.

Come July 30, 2018, it would be a surprise if this 45-year-old charmer does not make it to council.

“Zimbabwe will grow from strength to strength. We need a free, fair and credible election. I would rather ED loses a credible election than he wins a disputed election. I am sure Mnangagwa is of the same opinion,” he said.

“He surely wants to move Zimbabwe forward. We all want that. We have been stagnant for 20 years. Doing nothing but stupid, asinine and detrimental politics. My message to Glen Norah, and the city and Zimbabwe is simple, as in the Bonnie Deuschle song, “Don’t Give up, there are better days ahead,” he declares.

Peculiarly, Maguranyanga says in his manifesto that he will be the pro-business councillor, pro-sport councillor.

‘‘I have no idea why the City of Harare has been so anti-sport.

There are simply no new sports and recreational facilities going up. I have not heard much by the way of the city deliberately initiating and promoting the growth of businesses. If anything, my take is the city has been anti-business by its default stance,” he said.

“I want to get into council and help bring transformation together with other like-minded councillors and city staff.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.