The Sunday Mail
THE new dispensation under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has opened a democratic chapter that has allowed a sizeable number of contestants to seek election in most constituencies.
The most notable is Mpopoma-Pelandaba where 16 candidates are vying to unseat the incumbent Zanu PF legislator Cde Joseph Tshuma.
Cde Tshuma who came in through a 2015 by-election is confident of retaining the seat ahead of the competitors.
The seat had fell vacant following the dismissal of Mr Bekithemba Nyathi from MDC-T for aligning himself with the MDC renewal group then led by Mr Tendai Biti.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, the incumbent National Assembly member Cde Tshuma said he had done his homework and the fruits of his efforts in the area speak for themselves.
He said, MDC-T made a mistake by not fielding a candidate in the 2015 by-election as his work for the past three years give him advantage over his competitors.
“I can safely say that the biggest mistake made by the main opposition MDC-T then, was not to field a candidate because where I am and what I have achieved so far, it will be difficult for the opposition to remove us,” said Cde Tshuma
“I have established strong roots with the community, I have become personal with them and I am working with them every day.”
Since 2015, said Cde Tshuma, the constituency has benefited immensely from the projects he initiated.
“What I did is that I came in and initiated developmental projects as a measure to cover up for the unemployment which was high and the community has benefited to a larger extent.”
“From the time I came in 2015, I have done a lot of tangible things. I have come in with a different style of leadership, the type of leadership I introduced is leadership from the people working with the people,” said Cde Tshuma.
Cde Tshuma has initiated projects like chicken rearing, mushroom production and fish farming which he is partnering with all schools in his constituency.
Girls and young women, he said, are the major beneficiaries as some are now able to send children to school and paying rentals as well as fending for their families. Said Cde Tshuma; “Those are tangible, real life changing projects that we have done. We have a group of women and young girls whom we started a mushroom project with, in Emabutweni,” he said.
“These beneficiaries are supplying the mushroom to big chain stores like Pick n Pay, Food lovers and OK Supermarkets. They are already earning a living from that,” he said.
He went on; “So I am banking on continuity from what I have done so far. I promise tangible things and I cannot promise heaven and earth.
“I promise people things that can be achieved and results are there for everyone to see on the ground.”
Cde Tshuma faces candidates such as MDC-Alliance’s Charles Moyo, Mbuso Sibanda of MDC-T and Strike Mkandla among others.