MLISWA: I DON’T NEED TSVANGIRAI

Norton’s independent MP Temba Mliswa has said he does not need to use MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s popularity to lure people to his rallies.

The former Zanu PF official and staunch President Robert Mugabe supporter said he is a “brand on his own”.

Responding to claims that Tsvangirai ordered his members not to attend his solidarity rally after he won the Norton constituency by-election, Mliswa said he has his own strong support base.

“…I don’t have to use the name of…Tsvangirai to have people come to my rally, Temba Mliswa is a brand on his own, he has his own following…,” he said during an interview with Nehanda TV recently.

However, he attributed his victory to the support he got from other opposition political parties, including the MDC.

Mliswa — who beat Zanu PF’s Ronald Chindedza in the fiercely contested by-election — said MDC gets the most mention because of the mere fact that it is the biggest opposition political party in Zimbabwe.

The Norton seat had fallen vacant following the expulsion of war veterans leader, Chris Mutsvangwa, from the ruling Zanu PF party.

“Let me make this very clear, the Norton win was a united nations approach where everybody believed that change was imminent.”

He said his Norton victory had three aspects, which included the need for a courageous candidate who was willing to work and had a strategy.

“…strategy then involves me, bringing all the progressive forces together, MDC being… part of it and other smaller parties. PDP was first in announcing my support before MDC officially did. So I don’t want to say this one was superior to the other,” Mliswa said.

He said the solidarity rally, would have provided an opportunity for Tsvangirai to address people from different political organisations, since he believes he is the right man to lead a coalition of opposition political parties against 92-year-old Mugabe ahead of 2018 elections.

The vocal Mliswa said people were feeding Tsvangirai with false information, alleging he was eyeing to lead the coalition.

He however, said that he does not belong to any political party and that his Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy (Yard) was not even one.

Queried on whether he benefitted from Zanu PF’s succession squabbles through Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction, Mliswa said, “I am a strong campaigner myself, I am a seasoned politician, I was the chairperson of Mash West and Norton is part of Mash West.”

“I dealt with the structures of Norton as well , I did some work in Norton as chairman in the Kingsdale Housing Development, which is the biggest ward in Norton, which has over 3 000 voters followed by ward 15 which is rural and I won two of those because of my popularity when I was in Zanu PF, because of my popularity of being a worker…”

“I have a track record of representing people properly, I have a record of not wanting to take a car because I believe the people’s welfare is more important than a car,” he said.

Mliswa said he managed to outmanoeuvre Zanu PF — he claimed uses intimidation and vote buying as rigging strategies — because of his hard working principles.

Asked to comment on whether Zanu PF was abusing Mugabe by keeping him in power, Mliswa said, the party “has never been honest and the problem with the president is that he is surrounded by people who patronise him, who are criminals at the end of the day, he is equally protecting them, so they always tell him what he wants to hear because they want his protection.”

“But the truth of the matter is that I would really want him to leave office, guide the next president and at the same time be a statesman, where he can give lecturers to universities…Zanu PF must allow the president to retire, resign and let him go to universities to teach young people because whether you like it or not, Mugabe is an icon…” Daily News