MDC Alliance’s aspiring Glen View South legislator Vincent Tsvangirai (VT) says Zimbabweans must unite to save the country from collapse. He expressed confidence that he will win the seat that was left vacant following the death of his sister, Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java following a road traffic accident in June. He told NewsDay (ND) senior reporter Obey Manayiti of his plans to continue the work that was left hanging by Tsvangirai-Java. Below are excerpts:
ND: You are coming in to fill the vacancy left by your sister. How do you feel about the new political role you are now embarking on?
VT: Honestly, it’s a mixed bag of emotions for me. Firstly, I’m happy with the reception I’m getting from the party and the people. Secondly, I’m scared that my late father and sister’s shoes may be too big to fill and that the expectations put on me are just heavy. Will I be able to meet them? Thirdly, I am honoured to be given the chance to represent the people who were very dear to my late father (Morgan), mother (Susan) and sister (Vimbai).
ND: Did you, at any point in time dream of being a politician? Is politics your calling?
VT: I did, but I never expected myself to enter the arena this early, but life does not always go as we plan.
Following the death of my sister, I felt burdened to continue the work she had started and finish the plans she had. I do not know whether this is my calling or not, but I’m here now and I plan to work to the best of my ability for the people of Glen View South and for Zimbabwe.
ND: Being a son of the iconic and founding MDC president, how does it feel to be walking in his shoes?
VT: Well my father was his own person and I am my own person. The shoes he left behind are great shoes to fill, I will pace myself and be the best I can be. There will never be another Morgan Tsvangirai.
ND: Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
VT: I am Vincent Tsvangirai and I am the fifth born in a family of six. I am also a twin and I am 24 years old. My story is a simple one, growing up in the democratic family as a child you learn to grow up fast, so I was always a little bit more mature than my peers. I am a quiet person and I tend to let my actions speak for me. I did my schooling here in Zimbabwe until 2008 when we left for South Africa where I completed my education. Vincent is also a photographer and that is a very important part of my life. Growing up, I always excelled in arts, which seems to be resonating with a lot of youths in Glen View because a lot of them can relate to the creative passion.
ND: Who is your role model and why?
VT: My role models are my old man the late former Prime Minister Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai and a lot of MDC leadership, knowing that these men and women risked their lives so that Zimbabweans could have a future is just inspirational. Apostle Batsirai Java is another big role model to me. He is a man of integrity and is so full of the Word of God. Men like him are rare these days, especially for us young men looking for great people to look up to.
ND: What’s your relationship with the current MDC leadership? Do you also think the party is in the right hands?
VT: I have a very cordial relationship with the party leadership. I believe it is in good hands.
ND: How do you view the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa? Do you think his government is doing its best? What do you think your father would feel with such leadership in place?
VT: One of my father’s last prayers on his hospital bed was that the country would come together and call for unity and progress in our land and I believe that, across the divide, we need to reach out to one another. The state of the country needs us all to come together and find our way out of this hole. People are really suffering.
Personally, I believe we can get out of this hole, but it will take the effort of everyone across the divide.
ND: Are you confident of winning Glen View South? Why?
VT: I believe I will win the seat because the message I am taking to the people is that we will have to work hard together to develop the community. It will not be done overnight, but we will implement small programmes that will make big changes when we are done. I believe people in the country are tired of being promised things that they know may not come to fruition. They are more interested in things that can improve their daily lives.
ND: If elected, what are you going to work towards in the constituency?
VT: As I said before, we are going to work on small programmes to help alleviate the problems the community is facing. These are, however, not limited to:
Water: We have single faucet pumping borehole systems where congestion is witnessed due to water shortages being experienced in Harare. We can install solar-powered boreholes with water tanks and 10 faucets to aid with congestion.
Electricity: Finding ways to improve the electricity situation in the constituency and have centres where people can charge their small devices.
Sanitation: Bring in larger skip bins at illegal dumping sites in the constituency so that we can keep the environment clean and we will need to clean our river system as a community.
I have many plans I hope to implement in Glen View South; some were my late sister’s plans that I want to see implemented and others are mine.