‘I will thump Mliswa’

KEITH GUZAH . . . “Now is the time to do things right and we want a culture of servant leadership not that of impunity and recklessness”

KEITH GUZAH . . . “Now is the time to do things right and we want a culture of servant leadership not that of impunity and recklessness”

Tichaona Zindoga THE INTERVIEW

Cde Keith Guzah (KG) was recently elected to represent zanu-pf in the June 10 Hurungwe West by-election necessitated by the expulsion of Mr Temba Mliswa, who was part of the putschist cabal led by expelled former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru. Cde Guzah will stand against Mr Mliswa who has since thrown his hat into the ring as an independent. Cde Guzah outlines his vision for the area and tells our Political Editor Tichaona Zindoga (TZ) he will defeat Mr Mliswa “hands down”…

TZ: Congratulations on winning the recent Zanu-PF primary elections for Hurungwe West Constituency which fell vacant following the expulsion of Mr Temba Mliswa.

KG: Thank you. I feel much honoured to be representing the party Zanu-PF in the forthcoming by-elections. I must state from the onset that the Hurungwe West Constituency primary elections to choose a candidate within Zanu-PF attracted quite a number of equally competent cadres of the party. Each and every one of the candidates showed exciting zeal to safeguard the revolutionary interests of our party. I salute one and all.

TZ: Now, one could say the bigger battle lies ahead where you will be ranged against Mr Mliswa who has chosen to stand as an independent. Are you not fazed; what is your game plan?

KG: To assume that there is a bigger battle ahead of us is an exaggeration and most unfortunate. Zanu-PF is a party founded on the principles of safeguarding the interests of the people of Zimbabwe and can never be in a battle with the likes of Mliswa, a renegade who rose to prominence through the very same revolutionary party he intended to sell out by not only working with a putschist cabal around deposed former Vice President Amai Mujuru but also working with foreigners all in an effort to defeat the cause and interest of the ruling party and President Mugabe in Hurungwe West.

How can I be worried about facing Mliswa? The revolutionary party is geared to move into Hurungwe West and come out intact with the seat. There are no two ways about it. We are going to win hands down.

TZ: Mr Mliswa may have fancied himself above the party and as members of the provincial executive, how did you work with him before he was ousted through a vote of no confidence and eventually expelled?

KG: During Mliswa’s membership of Zanu-PF, he broke each and every rule governing the duty of members. His behaviour was not consistent with what is expected of a member of our revolutionary party. Our revolutionary party is founded on principles enshrined in our constitution.

Article 21 Section 1 stipulates that one has to be loyal to the party; Section 2: to observe and abide by the policies, rules and regulations of the party; Section 4: to strengthen, promote and defend the party and popularise its policies among the people and; Section 5: to conduct himself/herself honestly and honourably in his or her dealings with the party and the public and not being the party into disrepute or ridicule:

Mliswa abided by Mliswa rules in order to create a parallel power base outside the structures of the party. And we were quite aware of the motive behind that and the party had to act at the appropriate time. Now is the time to do things right and we want a culture of servant leadership not that of impunity and recklessness.

We want transparency not a leadership that is only focuses on self-aggrandisement and thrives on extortion, intimidation and corruption, which were the hallmarks of Mliswa’s ill-fated tenure. We want to inspire confidence in the party and its leadership at all levels. Zanu-PF belongs to the people and leaders come from, and serve the people.

TZ: There are indications that the opposition MDC-T is supporting Mliswa – and have made pronouncements to that effect. What does this tell us about the political nature of Mr Mliswa?

KG: The entire nation is well aware that there are forces of regime change backing Mliswa. It’s an open secret. Mliswa has been hobnobbing with the Americans represented by CIA spy Eric Little who also engaged other legislators who are linked to the opposition and the putschist cabal of Mai Mujuru.

This is an open secret as well, that is why there was reference to the so-called Dirty Dozen. Mliswa is part of that and, in fact, has gotten dirtier since his expulsion and subsequent alliance with the opposition MDC-T. But we, as a party, are not fazed about that. We have already seen the massive funding of MDC by our erstwhile colonisers. That has not dampened the revolutionary spirit of our revolution that has since seen Zimbabwe successfully prosecute the Third Chimurenga, which saw the majority of our people benefit and have a slice of their land.

Previously, the 12 million black majority were marginalised by a mere 6 000 whites who owned more than three-quarters of all arable land in this country. The revolutionary party reversed that historical injustice and the success and wisdom of this land reform exercise has already been seen by the gains made by our new farmers.

The indigenisation and economic empowerment programme, which is the Fourth Chimurenga, will cement the gains of these battles we have already won as Zanu-PF. But what I want to make abundantly clear is that Zanu-PF is a grassroots revolutionary party that has a history that cannot be rubbished by some in our midst who have a knack for betraying the party for a few pieces of silver.

TZ: What are the issues for the people of Hurungwe West and how do you seek to address them?

KG: Hurungwe West is largely a farming area. However, there are a number of challenges that the area faces which has led to the conclusion that there is a high poverty incidence, even compared to other constituencies. Social amenities such as schools and clinics are few and underdeveloped while farmers are not getting real value for tobacco because they sell it in raw form and its quality not up to expected standards.

So my task is simple, my brother. If you notice from the above, these are problems that Government’s blueprint, Zim-Asset, seeks to address. I only have to follow it to the letter. The first thing is to seek ways to end or alleviate poverty, which I will do by embarking on income-generating projects especially for women and youths. We will also make sure that they are educated on business so that when they access loans and revolving funds, which I will facilitate, they will be able to repay them.

Secondly, I wish to increase the number of social amenities such as schools where we have about 20 secondary schools most of them do not have A-Level while the teacher to student ratio remains as high as 1:45. Health facilities are also scarce with the majority of clinics without water and electricity. We also seek to increase the number of clinics by almost 50 percent in the short to medium term so that we can have at least 15 fully equipped clinics in the constituency.

Road networks and communication infrastructure must also be improved. Lastly, I have a vision where locals value-add their farm produce from maize to tobacco because that is the only way they can get more from their efforts and that is how they can defeat pov- erty.

In short, that is sustainable socio-economic transformation that Government is talking about and that is what the winning manifesto of Zanu-PF in the elections of 2013 was all about.

TZ: And, lastly, what do you consider to be your work in the post-Mliswa era?

KG: Zanu-PF is an institution that has seen it all. The people of Hurungwe West have already begun to enjoy the fruits of Zanu-PF minus Mliswa. During primary elections, candidates showed and expressed their support for the Hurungwe West constituency by engaging in various developmental programmes. We all worked together and showed the constituency that whatever Mliswa did, it was because Zanu-PF was behind it.

There is no developmental programme that was instituted in Hurungwe West by Mliswa alone except through the party. So to accept cheap political rubbish from him that he individually initiated projects in the constituency is to allow oneself to be hoodwinked. Zanu-PF initiated many projects in the constituency that I will continue to work on.

I will not re-invent the wheel, but simply perfect it as directed by the party. The party is supreme. I toe the party line in order to realise the expected results for the people of Hurungwe West.