MDC-T youth leader and Dzivarasekwa MP-elect Solomon Madzore says his party has already started preparing for fresh elections which should be held within a year under the supervision of Sadc and the African Union. Madzore (SM) was talking to NewsDay (ND) senior Parliamentary reporter Veneranda Langa in the capital on Monday. Below are excerpts of the interview:
ND: Congratulations for winning the Dzivarasekwa seat. Who is Madzore and can you give us a brief history of your political career?
SM: I was born 38 years ago and I joined active politics in 1999. The person who actually groomed me into politics was my brother Paul Madzore. He was fired from PG Industries in 1998 for being vocal on workers’ welfare as the general secretary of the workers’ union and at that time he suggested we should graduate from trade unionism and join a political party formed by workers. In 1999 when the MDC was formed, I attended its launch at Rufaro Stadium on September 11 and that became the launchpad for my political journey. That same year I was elected Glen View MDC youth chairperson. I also became the Harare provincial youth chairperson before being elected vice-chairman of the MDC Youth Assembly in 2000. Back then I was working with people like Nelson Chamisa (national organising secretary) and the late party spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe. In 2011 I was then elected president of the MDC-T Youth Assembly.
ND: You are one of the MDC-T members who have been arrested on several occasions. Why, and are these continuous arrests going to deter you from politics?
SM: It is true I was arrested several times, but on most of these occasions I was not imprisoned. In 2007 I was thrown into prison for close to seven months on charges of banditry after we held a democracy resistance campaign. Government said it was civil disobedience because they suspected we wanted to orchestrate armed subversion. I was also arrested in 2011 for the alleged murder of a policeman in Glen View and I spent 405 days in prison.
I am not at all deterred by these arrests and I will only give up the fight for democracy through death.
ND: Since you have been elected MP for Dzivarasekwa constituency, what do you promise your constituents?
SM: I want to be one of those MPs who are going to practise servant leadership instead of being perceived like a boss by my constituents. I have a plan, but as soon as I am sworn in as MP I want to start consulting my constituency on whatever projects they would want us to embark on. When I was campaigning I promised the people of Dzivarasekwa that we will alleviate water problems, improve the road network, health system and improve education facilities.
The most critical issue affecting the people of Dzivarasekwa is that they have been paying rates since 1965, but up to now ownership of most of the houses has not been finalised. I want to embark on projects to improve the lives of the youths, elderly and underprivileged within the Dzivarasekwa community.
ND: What kind of motions are you likely to introduce during the Eighth Parliament?
SM: First, one has to understand that there is a whipping system in Parliament and I have to discuss with my party every motion I might want to introduce. However, I wish to push for a motion to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to acknowledge they did a shoddy job during the just-ended elections and that free, fair and credible elections should be held within one year under Sadc and AU supervision.
ND: Given that Zanu PF already has a two-thirds majority in Parliament, are MDC-T voices likely to be heard?
SM: It is unfortunate that even during the Government of National Unity era Zanu PF used to treat us like junior partners. I want to believe that even if we had the majority in Parliament, Zanu PF would still not support our motions. They did not even listen to our leader (Morgan) Tsvangirai when he was Prime Minister. We need to bring quality to Parliament because a lot of the Zanu PF MP-elects are a bunch of opportunists who got their positions through rigging. Even with our numbers we will ensure we introduce motions to fight for the betterment of the people. We will remain loyal servants.
ND: As the MDC-T youth leader, how are you going to strengthen the party after the huge loss and what are your comments on the notion that your party is finished?
SM: We have held national executive and national council meetings and agreed that we want to make the youth assembly even stronger and re-ignite the fire of democracy to the lower structures of the party. We have the largest youth movement in the country and we are going to continue to mobilise and recruit the youths. We are also going to engage in peaceful demonstrations after getting permission from the police because the new Constitution allows us to do that. This would be against oppressive legislation like Posa, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the resurgence of violence in rural areas after the elections. In one year we will fight to ensure Zimbabwe has held free, fair and credible harmonised elections. That the MDC-T is finished is rubbish. We are a very united force under the able leadership of Tsvangirai.