Water, soil and skills equal progress: Makone

Ian Makone is the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff and husband to the co-Minister of Home Affairs, Theresa. He is vying for the Goromonzi West Constituency and told The Zimbabwean’s Clemence Machadu why the people should vote for him.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Chief of Staff, Ian Makone.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Chief of Staff, Ian Makone.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 63-years-old, married to Theresa and we were blessed with two daughters, one of whom is late, and two grand children. I was born in Hwedza, but moved to Goromonzi in 1999. We live in Parirehwa village.

Why did you get into politics?

It started in the early 70s when I was involved in student politics. I was on the Union Administrative Council of the University of Rhodesia in 1972 but I was expelled in 1973. I went to abroad to study and returned at the end of the war. I joined the public sector, ultimately rising to the position of general manager of the Grain Marketing Board, which distanced me from day to day politics. But the problems of the day were very evident and that is what drove me back into politics.

What sets you apart from your Zanu (PF) opponent, Beatrice Nyamupinga?

She belongs to a party from the past. We are quite clear that the people of Goromonzi, like the people of Zimbabwe, are tired of promises. We want action and we want to see results. This is the essential difference between MDC-T and Zanu (PF).

Why should the people of Goromonzi West vote for you?

Goromonzi West is a horticultural growing area. The roads are impassable and boreholes have broken down without repair. Electricity has been promised and never delivered. Several schools have got no electricity. The area is generally backward in terms of basic services. Harare is drifting towards Goromonzi, Domboshava especially. There is no plan of any description and, if we are not careful, we will simply develop into a squatter camp.

How have your experiences enabled you to better understand the people in Goromonzi West?

I have an agricultural background. I come from a farming background and I wanted to retire as close to Harare as possible, Goromonzi suited that description. We are very happy to be living in a communal area, among the people. We share their problems and we hope to share in their success.

What challenges are the people of Goromonzi West facing?

They survive on horticulture – kurima madomasi muGoromonzi, and I do my share of that. Fortunately, we have been able to upgrade our production methods to incorporate greenhouse production and drip irrigation. However, they have no access to finance, no collateral and face high interest rates if they choose to borrow from the bank. The people are desperate and yet their potential is great. If we could provide the infrastructure, the sky would be the limit.

How will you help them overcome these challenges?

I have encouraged farmers to gradually upgrade to drip irrigation as a stepping-stone to rural transformation. Working together with local Agritex officials, we have sponsored drip-kits for five prominent farmers in the communal area and we have also offered similar kits to the four headmen, to promote the zunde ramambo concept. It is a tragedy that this area is dependent on aid.

How can you put your vision for the constituency into action?

It’s very simple – elect Morgan Tsvangirai into office, as President. Elect a substantial number of MDC-T candidates into Parliament and the council. We have a programme and we have a plan.

What principles do you live by as an MP?

Honesty and consultation.

How have you been engaging with the electorate?

In the weeks since nomination, I have walked the length and breadth of the constituency. I have gone door to door, talked to people and asked for their votes. It’s incredible to see how disgusted people are with the way things have been done for the last 33 years.

What is your plan for the next five years, if you are voted into office?

Firstly, because we produce, we need to get our produce to the market. Secondly, we have got to upgrade our marketing facilities at the Showground. It’s a shame; people are sleeping out in the open, there are no lights, there is theft. Thirdly, we have got to ensure that we have adequate water supplies. Although the underground potential of water in Domboshava is low, it is nevertheless available. Water, combined with soil, combined with skills, equals progress.

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