No revenge for perpetrators of violence: Mukashi

Beaten by soldiers at Makoni Police Station and left for dead at the height of politically motivated violence in June 2008, aspiring member of parliament for Zengeza East, Michael Mukashi, wants to revive the town’s dormant industries and ensure that youths find employment. Mukashi is vying for the parliamentary seat on an MDC-N ticket and told Sofia Mapuranga about his developmental agenda for Zengeza East.

Michael Mukashi is fighting for a brighter future for his grandchildren.
Michael Mukashi is fighting for a brighter future for his grandchildren.

Tell us about your political journey so far.

I have always been a politician. I stood as an independent in the 1998 elections for Ward 16 in Zengeza West, Chitungwiza when I was running for a post as a councillor. On the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change in 1999, I was part of the team that attended the All Stakeholders meeting as a Zim Rights representative for Chitungwiza. After its formation, I was elected as the first district chairperson for Chitungwiza West and elevated to the position of Provincial Secretary. In 2001, I moved to the party’s headquarters, Harvest House, as the National Organising Coordinator responsible for Mashonaland West, East, Central and Chitungwiza. In 2004, I was the party’s Director of Programmes until 2005, when the party split. I then joined the Welshman Ncube led MDC.

You suffered at the hands of security agents during the June 2008 elections. What kept you going?

It was the need to bring equity and improve the lives of the majority. I have a passion for development and changing the lives of others. When I look at my community, I have a vision of establishing a vibrant industry. People want someone who is able to articulate their issues at a policy level, not leaders who reside in suburbs. I am motivated by the need to represent the people and bring about development.

Why should the electorate from Zengeza East trust you?

I am not in politics because I want to amass wealth. I am passionate about the development of my constituency. To me, losing an election does not mean that I move away from the political arena. I lost in 1998 but I have continued to advocate for change. I am a leader who assures them that they have the right to reclaim their vote in the event that I do not deliver. Servant leadership is what I offer.

Unlike other politicians who seek to be recognised as honourables, I am going to refuse that name because I belong to the people. Being elected as a leader does not mean that you know everything. Consultation and engagement with the grassroots is critical, if any meaningful development is to happen in constituencies.

What can you promise the electorate?

I will ensure that every cent that the constituency gets from government coffers such as the Constituency Development Fund is accounted for. I will create Constituency Development Committees comprised of business people, youths, women and the academia to profile the solutions for the community. Their task will be to identify priority areas and spearhead the development agenda.

The water woes affecting the town should be addressed. I will put mechanisms in place to ensure residents get alternative water sources. There are no boreholes in the constituency and water is a priority. I will engage other stakeholders for assistance and ensure that the benefits cascade to the grassroots.

I will ensure the resuscitation of Con Textiles industrial area and ensure the employment of youths. A lot of children are not going to school because of financial challenges. I will engage the Basic Education Assistance Module select committees and ensure that deserving students benefit from that fund. I will also facilitate dialogue with stakeholders such as Old Mutual to ensure that the town’s shopping centre is affordable for business people. I will create a home industry for people who are currently operating in their backyards and ensure that the town’s roads are repaired. Accommodation challenges will be a thing of the past, if I am elected into office. I will advocate for transparent and equitable distribution of stands to everyone, regardless of their political affiliation.

What do you think should be done to perpetrators of politically motivated violence?

My personal experience at the hands of Zanu (PF) and soldiers has not deterred my zeal for democracy in Zimbabwe. I will not advocate revenge neither will I endorse what they did to me. I believe that integration and reorientation are key tenets for the country to move forward.

Children should be taught at a very young age about the negative effects of violence. I do not look forward to a time when my great grandchildren will go through what I went through in fighting for democracy.

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