Nduduzo Tshuma Bulawayo Bureau
PRESIDENT Mugabe will address the penultimate Youth Interface Rally in Bulawayo on Saturday with Zanu-PF legislators vowing to work hard towards retaining their seats in the 2018 elections. The President will be in City of Kings for the 9th Presidential Youth Interface Rally scheduled for White City Stadium. The ruling Zanu-PF won back six seats in the 2015 by elections, ending a 15-year MDC-T stranglehold on the province.
In the by elections, Zanu-PF won back six seats namely Makokoba, Mpopoma-Pelandaba, Njube-Lobengula, Luveve, Pumula and Nkulumane constituencies. Mpopoma-Pelandaba legislator Cde Joseph Tshuma yesterday said the address by President Mugabe on Saturday will be significant in that the people would get to hear from the Head of State and Government, the plans for Bulawayo.
“We are happy because after 15 years, Zanu-PF was able to win seats in Bulawayo and we want to make a promise that we will work hard in making sure that we retain the seats or even win more in the 2018 elections,” he said.
“From the many interventions and lobbying we have done on behalf of the city since our election, the people have realised that they are far better off having the ruling Zanu-PF championing their aspirations compared to the opposition, which did absolutely nothing for them.” Cde Tshuma said they were happy that the President would come and interact with the people of Bulawayo.
“We are very keen on the President’s address, particularly on the revival of industry in Bulawayo that will see the re- emergence of big companies like the Cold Storage Commission and revitalisation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe. The people of Matshobane in my constituency benefited a lot from NRZ in its heydays as it provided jobs and its revival will be a welcome development, so the push by the President on relevant ministries for the revival of industries is significant. The people of Bulawayo would also like to see the issue of Special Economic Zones moving with speed to foster development in the city.” President Mugabe is on record as saying Bulawayo, which saw many industries shutting down due to illegal Western sanctions, would not be allowed to die.
“Bulawayo, of all our cities, is the one which has suffered the most from sanctions, because in the olden days it was established as the industrial city before the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland,” said President Mugabe in 2014 as he lit the torch for the 6th edition of the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games held in the city. It was the centre and is still the centre, the capital of our railway systems and of course for some of us, who have lived around there and whose parents also worked that side, have that much sentiment within us, an undying sentiment for Bulawayo.”
Cde Tshuma paid tribute to President Mugabe for implementing drought mitigation measures even in urban centres to cushion the people from the effects of the 2015-2016 agricultural season that was affected by drought. He also hailed the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) for providing funds for the Bulawayo City Council to rehabilitate the dilapidated road infrastructure. Political analyst Mr Richard Mahomva said the rally in Bulawayo is key in terms of affirming the legitimacy, which has been consolidated by the party in the past years to this day.
“The interface rally brings to life the undying relevance of the party in Bulawayo and affirms the city’s abiding support to the ideas of the party as has been the case with other provinces where the interface rallies have been hosted. It is also against this background that the party will be able to assess its 2018 youth demographic voter mobilisation performance rate, particularly the virgin vote since this is a youth interface,” he said. chronicle