JOSPHAT Mzaca Ngulube (33) is an independent aspiring legislator for Bulawayo South constituency. He is a teacher by profession, director in the Sports and Recreation ministry and human rights activist, who has hogged the limelight through his passion for justice.
Last month, Ngulube led pensioners in a march to Mhlahlandlela government offices and National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), demanding an increase in their meagre pensions.
He recently petitioned NRZ to recruit three quarters of their employees from Bulawayo South constituency, in the “local-must-benefit-first” vein.
Last year, he staged a one-person demonstration against the Premier Soccer League’s ruling against Highlanders FC.
Southern Eye reporter, Talent Gumpo (SE) caught up with Ngulube (JMN), who spoke about his drive and goals, as he campaigns as an independent candidate. Below are the excerpts of the interview:
SE: Can you tell me more about yourself and where you draw your inspiration from?
JMN: I draw my inspiration from my exposure as a teacher. I have seen children, who come from poor families that cannot afford to pay school fees and there are high rates of school dropouts and even those who manage to go school end up roaming the streets and engaging in drug and substance abuse, owing to high unemployment rates. And it is my role, our role as young people to work towards arresting such ills.
SE: Why Bulawayo South?
JMN: I chose this constituency because it is my home area. I also taught there and I understand the plight of the people.
SE: When and why did you enter politics?
JMN: I have been a human rights activist since I was in college in 2005, but I got into politics in 2015, when I realised that it is high time youth participated in politics. I realised that our leaders are old, they played their part, when they were young when it was Rhodesia. It is now our time to take over. The future of Zimbabwe is in our hands, we need a new approach to politics.
SE: Why did you choose to be an independent candidate?
JMN: There is so much confusion in the opposition politics, they are power-hungry and all we see in them is fighting for positions and that is not what I stand for. They are clearly concerned about serving personal interests. I want to remove the syndrome of bootlicking leaders, we need independent thinkers. In Team Mzaca, we do not know any party, we do not know tribe or race, we know that we are here to serve the people.
SE: What programmes you have lined up on your road to elections?
JMN: I declared that I will not wait for campaigns to start, I have already done initiatives at schools in ward 21. I have advised schools in my area to desist from dismissing children, who would not have paid fees, as people are chocking in the cash crisis. I have encouraged them (schools) to open mobile money accounts for payments as some parents do not have access to bank accounts. I led a successful march and petitioned Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Angeline Masuku over the meagre pensions awarded to pensioners.
SE: Did the march yield any results?
JMN: Yes, it has. The NRZ Pension Fund department has asked pensioners, who feel they were cheated to approach their offices, so that is a positive step.
SE: How, would you say, you have been received in your constituency?
JMN: At first, people said I was still young and were sceptical, but they have realised that I believe in social justice, peace and fair allocation of resources and so far so good. We held a Meet Mzaca meeting last month in Sizinda and are in the process of organising another one in Tshabalala, so that people get to know the face behind the name. I also have a huge following from people in the Diaspora, who follow what I am doing on social media platforms.
SE: What are you promising your constituency if you are voted into office?
JMN: Among other projects, we are planning to launch a mosquito-spraying campaign. We understand that very few people can afford to get medical services and we believe in that prevention is better than cure, so we want to embark on a massive spraying campaign to prevent the spread of malaria as part of our health policy. Also on cards is a fowl-run project for women. Basically, we do not want short-term projects; we need those that will sustain people. We are looking towards being able to pay school fees for the less-privileged and giving grocery vouchers to the elderly every month. I will give more attention to the education sector because I believe that without education, people will always be oppressed.
SE: Where do you get funding for your projects?
JMN: No one is funding me at the moment. I fund all my programmes, of course, in future I might need to engage the corporate world to bring some projects to fruition.
SE: Your parting shot?
JMN: This is a time for change, and redefinition of Zimbabwe politics. We are not looking for party badges, but people can deliver. We are not interested in tribal fights, because we do not know Ndebele, we do not know Shona, we know the people of Zimbabwe. The people in Bulawayo South should trust me; I am their child and am here to serve them.