ZVISHAVANE — In a political environment dominated by violence, mudslinging and male egoism, MDC-T Midlands South provincial chairperson Lillian Timvios stands tall as the only provincial chairperson of a major political party in Zimbabwe.
Born in 1973, Timvios cut her political teeth at the formation of the MDC in 1999 where, together with her husband Acropol, they reportedly used family resources to finance the party as ordinary card-carrying members.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay, the 38-year-old politician said she had travelled a bruising journey to the top.
“At first my husband was the one who was more involved with the party and all I did was support, but as the political situation deteriorated and I saw people being displaced from their homes owing to political violence, I got more involved. We would provide food and shelter to victims of violence at our shop here in Zvishavane.”
“Our shop (Acropol Supermarket) was eventually closed down by violent Zanu PF youths, but we continued to assist the party, funding for the food which fed polling agents in the province and sheltering the victims.
“I am not complaining:
Actually if asked to do it again, I will do it as long as (President Robert) Mugabe is around,” said Timvios.
Now her husband is just a card-carrying member of the MDC-T and supports his wife in her political career which takes her away from home on rallies around the province and country.
Before being elected to the position of chairperson in a highly-charged provincial election, she served as the treasurer.
The Zvishavane politician — who refuses to be referred to as chairlady — says her leadership has not been without challenges although she has recorded some success.
“We came out of bruising provincial elections and congress and there is need to bring people together so that they forget the mudslinging and aggressiveness that come with elections.
Some people just have lack of respect for me because I am a woman, but that has not stopped me working towards peace in the province. I am very proud of myself really,” she said.
Timvios says she is not eyeing any parliamentary position in the next election as her core concern at the moment is to build the provincial party structures so that they become formidable ahead of the envisaged elections next year.
“I am not looking at that (parliamentary seat), the bigger picture for me as chairperson is to ensure that my province is ready for the coming elections and that I touch base with the people here so that the party does not lose touch with the grassroots,” she said.