HARARE – The story of Moses Manyengavana, 35, who is representing the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the forthcoming National Assembly elections, can be likened to someone chasing a rainbow.
Manyengavana, has not only been chasing the political rainbow, he has reached it.
But what stands between him and the foot of that rainbow in Highfield West are Zanu PF’s Emmanuel Juta, MDC’s Miriam Zengeni, Zanu Ndonga’s Sekayi Putire and Glen Dhliwayo an independent candidate.
Yet the Glen Norah-raised politician is unfazed by that final assault towards Parliament.
“Rivals are not there in the constituency (Highfield West).
“But I have not been waiting to see their presence. Politics is not like sport where you have an umpire.
“The moment I set my mind on Parliament I decided to launch my campaign straightaway,” Manyengavana told the Daily News this week.
“There is no competition in this race but I am not resting on my campaign and promises to the people of Highfield West. Come July 31, we will deliver them a new Zimbabwe”.
Manyengavana’s rivals have the unenviable task of shearing the MDC’s votes in this constituency.
Juta is among the young breed of Zanu PF candidates which has been fielded in urban constituencies as the liberation movement tries to charm youths in these watershed elections.
But the MDC remains appealing to the urban electorate and some parts of the rural areas where it fared well in the 2008 elections.
Manyengavana does not expect a change in voting patterns in the MDC strongholds but instead, says every contestant is aiming to deliver the presidential vote.
“From local government, National Assembly and senatorial candidates, the aim in these elections is to garner as many votes as possible to clinch that presidential vote.
“Our campaigns are very clear, we need a clean sweep to make sure that we deliver our promise to the people — to have a new Zimbabwe presided over by Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai,” said Manyengavana.
Tsvangirai defeated President Robert Mugabe in 2008 elections but fell short of the required 50 percent plus one vote to assume the presidency.
However, the results had been withheld for five weeks raising genuine fears that they were tempered with.
Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off days before polling, citing massive violence against his supporters — leaving Mugabe to stand as the only candidate in an election widely condemned as sham.
Hopes of a mooted grand coalition involving former ally but now rival — Welshman Ncube— succeeding, are now fading as haggling over stakes continues with the clock ticking towards the deadline set for withdrawal of presidential papers.
Both Dumiso Dabengwa of Zapu and Ncube who recently formed an alliance, have filed their papers to contest Tsvangirai and Mugabe despite being reported to be involved in a grand coalition.
Friday is the deadline in which, if they still want to pave way for Tsvangirai, to withdraw their nomination papers filed two weeks ago.
But Manyengavana believes Tsvangirai’s economic plan and the party’s general performance in the inclusive government give reason to believe it could happen this time around.
“I promise to build on what the MDC and my colleague — Simon Hove — have done in the last four years. The constituency needs development and encouragement of small businesses which are key to skilled but unemployed youths and women.
“Small enterprises’ development is on top of my agenda for Highfield West. We have people who are able but currently financially hamstrung.
“Our children and sports people need proper recreational facilities but these are in a dilapidated state,” Manyengavana told the Daily News.
“I promise to work with local councillors to rehabilitate roads and shopping centres whose surfaces are in a poor state.
“Zinara must be held accountable so that they remit funds to local authorities for resurfacing of these roads,” said the Harare manager who is with a local hospital company.
He promised to be part of a Parliament that would be remembered for bringing legislative reforms that empower poor communities as well as dispatching repressive laws such as the Public Order Security Act (Posa) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aipa).
“An MP should act as a conduit between Parliament and the constituency. Development in any constituency is measured by the role that particular MP plays.
“Our communities are reeling from underdevelopment because some of the laws we have are anti investors while repressive laws such as Posa and Aiipa restrict assembly and freedom of information.
“An informed society helps challenge its leaders and is instrumental in promoting good governance. As an MP, I would help colleagues fight laws that curtail media freedom and replace them with just laws,” said Manyengavana.
Aippa criminalises journalism and is abhorred as a result of spawning media closures including the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday which spent 8 years in the woods.
Manyengavana defeated Hove in the primaries to earn the right to represent the MDC in the forthcoming election.
Hove’s term in Highfield West was not met with the promises made during his campaign in 2008.
Subsequently, he was booted out by his party structures to pave way for the unassuming Manyengavana who maintains he is “taking over” from Hove as opposed to having “defeated” him.
“Our primaries were like a relay where I was given the baton to continue with the work in Highfield West Constituency. It was never a competition where you beat somebody.
“Hove did his time and offered services to the people. It is unfinished business because I am continuing with the people’s mandate,” Manyengavana told the Daily News.
He dismissed reports that he was a nonentity who rode his luck to earn the right to represent the MDC in the forthcoming elections.
“I was not known to people who are outside Highfield West. I was one of the first people to be in the structures when we started the MDC. I have risen from the youth structures to occupy a place in the main structures.
“In 2005, when the party split, we lost a big number in our structures that followed former MP Priscilla Misihairambwi when she joined the other MDC. The six of us who were left, started from scratch to rebuild the party.
“So it is an outsider who can claim that I am a nonentity. I have been with the party from its inception,” said Manyengavana.
The MDC was rocked by a split of 2005 over participation in senatorial elections.
Ncube led a group that went to form another MDC which was predominantly Matabeleland given its composition which had the late Gibson Sibanda, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, Paul Temba Nyathi and Misihairambwi-Mushonga as its leadership.
Scars from the split remain visible and are part of the reasons why Tsvangirai and Ncube remain poles apart in their values, principles and ideologies.