Air-conditioned buses, music shows: How to worm yourself into Wedza South

IN the political satire Sabhuku Vharazipi, the notorious headman, who happens to be the lead actor, says: “When you are seeking political office, buy food, beer and cigarettes for the people.”

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

This is true when it comes to Wedza South constituency, where politics of the stomach had ruled the roost for a long time — until recently, when the current generation from Zanu PF re-grouped and opted for vote buyers under the guise of development-oriented representatives.

In 2004, while at St Henry’s Chikurumadziwa Secondary School, the school’s senior football team coach, Godfrey Chitsaka (now late) brought some good news. The Madhanha Sports Tournament was launched.

The players, however, were oblivious to the motive behind the sporting activity.

They were engrossed in displaying their skills on the pitch and hopefully clinching the trophy as victors.

To the villagers, the tournament provided leisure and a platform for their children to exhibit their abilities and perhaps be scouted for by bigger teams.

Two years later, Madhanha became a household name in Wedza South. People began to dig more and it was reported that he was linked to the Pangolin Luxury Buses.

The then sitting legislator, Rosemary Goto’s name started diminishing slowly.

The luxury coaches snaked their way into the constituency, ferrying the women, who were holders of the passports to Musina, South Africa, free of charge.

He was the saviour.

With the country reeling in an economic tailspin, the free trips to Musina to buy groceries and other goods were a blessing to the rural folk, let alone boarding the luxury buses adorned with facilities such as air conditioning and a good sound system.

The electorate was spoiled and the engineer became a darling to many.

After some time, Madhanha’s interest was declared and it was easy for him to be accepted by the community.
Goto became the adversary, while Madhanha became the anticipated messiah.

A campaign was rolled out and he won the 2013 elections by a wide margin.

The gods smiled on him and he was appointed Transport and Infrastructure deputy minister — a move that was well received by the Wedza electorate in that one of their own had clinched an influential position, hence development in the constituency was imminent.

According to the community, that is when the music stopped.

“After winning the election, he changed. We would call him and he would tell us that he was busy studying. We became orphans,” a Zanu PF member in Dendenyore area told NewsDay Weekender.

The community began looking for another saviour. And he came at an opportune time.

Youthful businessman, Tinodaishe Machakaire’s entrance into the playing field was calculative. He was an unknown.

But to win the hearts of the youth, he knew the right button to press.

Machakaire (35), who is popularly known as Tinmac, became popular after bringing a lot of local artistes on Christmas Day to his residence in Makanda, an area that is at the tip close to Mucheke River, which borders Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces.

Both the old and the young would travel long distances to Makanda to witness their favourite musicians performing live and free of charge.

To some, it was their first time to see Alick Macheso, Sulumani Chimbetu, Blessing Shumba, Nicholas Zakaria and Apama Styles, among others, performing live.

Women with babies strapped to their backs and some barefoot would endure the harsh weather conditions, all in the name of having entertainment.

That is how Machakaire became popular across the area.

It became routine that every Christmas Day, a top local artiste performed at his homestead, hence, the community has a whole 12 months to prepare for the entertainment shows.

The young politician, who is also a Zanu PF youth league executive in the province, began assisting the elderly and widows through improving their shelters and catering for their welfare.

He established sustainable development projects in the form of irrigation schemes that benefited the unemployed youth.

Other projects included the refurbishment of schools, construction of clinics and chicken rearing projects for the underprivileged.

During a rally in Dema, national youth executive members Lewis Matutu and Godfrey Tsenengamu declared that the youth were to take up legislative positions and that they should be supported.

The message was taken to the rural Wedza and it was well received.

Political violence erupted in Wedza South and the Zanu PF national leadership was deployed to douse the flames.
It did not work.

So ruthless is politics. It is like a shadow; this minute you are here, and the next, you are there. The democratic process of electing candidates used by Zanu PF produced shocking results.

A number of bigwigs fell by the wayside across the country, including the Wedza South incumbent legislator.

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