FORMER Silobela MP, Anadi Sululu (MDC-T) says he is confident of reclaiming the Silobela constituency seat which he lost to Zanu PF’s Manoki Mpofu.
By VENERANDA LANGA
Sululu said once he regains the seat, he will fight to ensure that the people of Silobela will benefit from their natural resources such as gold. He said while he supports MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa’s candidature in the presidential elections, he strongly feels that Chamisa and former party deputy president Thokozani Khupe must bury their differences and contest as a united party.
Sululu (AS) met up with NewsDay senior Parliamentary reporter Veneranda Langa (ND) to discuss different electoral issues and the following are excerpts of the interview:
ND: What are your feelings over divisions in MDC-T?
AS: I feel that Chamisa and Khupe should sit down and re-engage. If former MDC leaders like Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti managed to come back and join hands again with MDC-T, then Khupe and Chamisa can get back together. The late MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s dream was to have one grand coalition of opposition parties. I also feel that if other small political parties like Elton Mangoma’s Coalition of Democrats were to join hands with the MDC-T, we would remove Zanu PF from power. Due to the Khupe/Chamisa impasse, people on the ground are now confused. For example, in Silobela people have even approached me to ask who the real MDC-T presidential candidate is.
This will further divide the votes and people will be more confused, especially when it comes to logos. It is only a few months before the elections and it would be tricky for either party in this conflict to come up with a new brand or logo.
ND: You were MP for Silobela during the seventh Parliament, how did you lose the seat to Zanu PF?
AS: There was a lot of rigging by Zanu PF during the 2013 elections and that is how I failed to retain the seat. My constituency was one of those that the MDC-T wanted its results contested at the courts, but that did not happen. Villagers from other areas were bussed in, people were threatened by chiefs that they should vote for Zanu PF. That is how I lost the seat.
ND: So ahead of election, what new things would you bring for the people of Silobela if you were voted into office?
AS: Silobela is lagging behind in terms of development 37 years after independence; thanks to Zanu PF. I feel that it is high time that the constituency benefited from its resources. We need to develop in terms of information communication technology. When I was MP for the area, I drilled eight boreholes to solve the water problems, but now I feel it is time Silobela had piped water and electricity so that the rural schools can introduce computer studies.
ND: Do you think the political playing field is now level?
AS: I do not think that Zanu PF is interested in having a level playing field. This is the first time that Zanu PF has been saying that elections are going to be free and fair, but I think it is suspicious. I think the 2018 elections have already been rigged and this time they are going to do it in a special way. We need full independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec). Electoral reforms must be finalised as soon as possible because we are at a technologically advanced stage and we do not want our voters to be told that their names do not appear on the voters’ roll.
ND: Are you experiencing any threats during campaigns?
AS: The problem that I am experiencing is that some of traditional leaders in Silobela have been saying they have been threatened by Zanu PF activists and Central Intelligence Organisation operatives who have promised to unleash terror if Zanu PF loses the constituency. This has a huge effect on people and voters. There is also vote-buying using food aid. However, despite these threats, I am confident that this time the MDC-T will win resoundingly.
ND: What makes you think that Silobela is better off under an MDC-T legislator?
AS: It is a gold rich area, but Zanu PF leaders have been looting. When I was MP, I initiated the Silobela Development Association, but some of the members affiliated to Zanu PF went behind my back and converted about $350 000 meant for developing the constituency to their own use. There has been corruption in Silobela and that is why the chiefs and headmen want me back. With good management of our natural resources, we can even have train stations and airstrips in Silobela. It is possible because many people do not even know that white farmers used to have airstrips in Silobela.