A total of 23 candidates will be vying for the top post in Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections due in less than two weeks’ time and of these only two hail from the second largest city, Bulawayo.
While several opposition party presidents are based in this part of the country, most of them have chickened out for various reasons, preferring to field parliamentary and local government candidates.
Only two candidates – Thokozani Khupe, leader of a splinter faction of the MDC and the Democratic Opposition Party’s Harry Peter Wilson have gathered the courage to fight for the country’s top post.
Southern News sought interviews to establish what they have to offer the country and their city of origin which for years has been ravaged by deindustrialisation.
Khupe’s spokesperson Karl Phugeni said there was no doubt that theirs was the party of choice, capable of reviving the country’s fortunes.
“For Bulawayo, all the industrial activity has all of a sudden been vanquished, all we see are churches all over but they are also not thriving because how do you survive when it comes to tithes and offerings in a dead economy,” Phugeni said.
” … Khupe’s aspiration for Bulawayo is to open up the industries, create employment, do a skills audit, see where our people are strong so that we can match them with the work. We don’t forget the old, disabled and vulnerable. We will put a social security scheme so that they can be empowered.”
He said the city will be restored to its status as Zimbabwe’s industrial hub.
Phugeni said no sane person can vote for Zanu-PF at this juncture, considering the years of suffering Zimbabweans have been subjected to.
“There is no Zimbabwean who can stand up and say he has been enjoying in Zimbabwe in the past 38 years because we are on the precipice. Zanu-PF has taken us down the drain.
“We are at this stage the only party that has a proven track record, in the form of our president. When she was deputy prime minister, she opened hospitals and schools in the country,” he said.
Khupe’s counterpart in the city, Wilson said his ambition was to redefine the destiny of Zimbabwe and unite the people.
“We, as the DOP of Zimbabwe, shall by all means strive to serve the interests of our people, something that has been alien to Zanu-PF which has been self-serving,” he said.
Wilson said his party knows no race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or political affiliation in its ideology hence everybody will be equal, adding that in his first 100 days, the economy will have shown serious indicators of a complete departure from decades of mismanagement by Zanu-PF.