ZANU-PF Bulawayo Province must heed President Mugabe’s calls to retain lost seats to the MDC-T by uniting and working towards one goal of defeating the opposition.
Addressing the 9th Presidential Youth Interface rally at White City Stadium, a stone’s throw from the home of his late deputy and one of the founding fathers of the country’s liberation, Dr Joshua Nkomo in Pelandaba, President Mugabe called on the party leadership to “wake up” and reclaim the province.
The province, rich in liberation history with institutions like Stanley Hall, Stanley Square and McDonald Hall, representing the nascent stage of the liberation struggle, has been dominated by the opposition from 2000 to 2015, a phenomena President Mugabe said should be changed.
The ruling Zanu-PF in the 2015 by-elections managed to end the MDC-T dominance in the city by winning back six seats, which should be the starting point.
The Zanu-PF legislators, two years after election, have proved how Bulawayo had since 2000 to the time of the by-elections in 2015, been orphaned in terms of representation.
The MDC-T had deployed to Parliament political misfits from former postmen, netball coaches to messengers whose awe to be at the august House was so overwhelming that they forgot the people who got them there.
President Mugabe in his address, said the interface which attracted thousands of party supporters resembled a reawakening of the party in a province generally regarded as a stronghold of the opposition.
“Abadala balapha vukani. Get up and regard this as an obligation, obligation to get Bulawayo on top and not allow (MDC-T leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and (MDC-T deputy president, Ms Thokozani) Khupe to be ahead of you,” he said.
“Let Bulawayo regard this as a reawakening. The meeting, this interface is a reawakening of Bulawayo, a new reawakening, a new reawakening and we shall not again be seen lacking in support of our party Zanu-PF,” he said.
“We want change, Bulawayo must change. I’m glad that so many have come out. It’s the second city to Harare and we can’t afford to be losing it.”
“We shall not allow the opposition to take the lead. No! That is a pledge we must make. If it means staying awake organising the people and sleeping only three, four hours, let’s do so. Let’s do so in the interest of our city in the interest of our people,” he said.
President Mugabe challenged Bulawayo to emulate the two Matabeleland provinces where the ruling party is dominating.
“ELupane they showed us that lesson. It was excellent there. But we know we’ve had problems here koBulawayo, but anyway those who came out were many but it could have been better. It is a start,” he said.
The President said people from Matabeleland North and South must help Bulawayo.
“People from eMatojeni, people from Plumtree, Lower Gweru et cetera, you can spare some time to help Bulawayo to redeem itself,” he said.
As the country heads towards elections next year, it is important for the province to work hard towards mobilising supporters and encouraging them to register to vote under the new Biometric Voter registration.
To their credit, Bulawayo Province which in recent months experienced chaotic scenes leading to violent clashes at the Davies Hall party offices, has managed to heal the divisions and started working as a unit.
The important realisation that divisions would only help in giving the opposition the advantage, shows not only political maturity but determination to change the fortunes of the party in the province.
The unity of purpose was proved by the successful hosting of the 9th Presidential Youth Interface Rally whose numbers impressed President Mugabe.
The Head of State, however, said there was potential that the province could have organised more people which is what the provincial structures should now direct their efforts on.
Even national secretary for youth affairs, Cde Kudzanai Chipanga had kind words on the organisation of Bulawayo towards the interface.
After the President’s address, the Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial structures met to strategise on the elections with the structure’s chairperson Cde Dennis Ndlovu emphasising on unity.
Besides being a guide to the Zanu-PF structures, President Mugabe’s calls should also be heeded by the citizens of Bulawayo not to repeat the mistake of electing chancers into Parliament or any office for that matter.
For the Bulawayo Zanu-PF structures, the job to reclaim the seats is the easiest at a time the MDC-T is imploding due to a number of challenges ranging from factional divisions to Mr Tsvangirai’s health.
Efforts to form a coalition of opposition parties have also failed so really there is nothing standing in the way of the Zanu-PF reclamation exercise.
This is the perfect opportunity for Bulawayo Province, which for many years has lagged behind other provinces to come to the party.