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Muzorewa has big shoes to fill, believes UANC is the future for a prosperous Zimbabwe

2023 UANC presidential aspirant Rev Dr Gwinyai Muzorewa addressing party followers in Muziti village in Rusape last Friday where he launched his election campaign in Manicaland.

…I was sent by God to deliver my people: Rev Dr Muzorewa

“These are the reasons I left the US to return home. You must know when I speak that this is not to please crowds, but to fear the word of God. He told me ‘Gwinyai, go down to the valley and deliver my people.’ I am a God fearing person who lives by the bible,” said the theology professor.

Tom Ncube

THE United African National Council (UANC) 2023 presidential aspirant Reverend-Doctor Gwinyai Muzorewa has castigated the current Zanu-PF government for condoning fresh farm invasions and its failure to sustainably incentivize and grow the country’s agriculture and mining sectors to bring out Zimbabwe from the current doldrums.

The UANC leader said this while addressing his party supporters in his home village, Muziti, in Rusape district last week Friday where he launched his Manicaland election campaign.

Part of the crowd that attended the rally.

He told the nearly 2000 crowd that his party had better sustainable solutions on how to best increase sustainable, pro-poor production in the agriculture and mining sectors to overturn the current state of affairs. He said their manifesto is hinged on three things, improving democratic governance, macro economic stability and social service delivery.

“Some of us participated in the liberation struggle and our key phrase was ‘tese tiri vana vevhu’, meaning that we must all have land to use as we like. When you have been allocated land, you must be at peace to even plant gumtrees that take long to grow because you will be assured that the land is yours forever. You must be free to build your favourite design of a farmhouse because it is a lifetime investment. But currently there is no such guarantee of tenure for indigenous farmers after the land reform,” said Rev Dr Muzorewa.

He was referring to incidents where some resettled farmers have over the years been replaced by others who are given special offer letters through strong political connections with senior government officials, whilst some families have been displaced from their ancestral rural land without compensation to make way for commercial ventures.

In October last year, Rev Dr Muzorewa who is the younger brother of the late UANC founder Bishop Abel Muzorewa, relaunched the UANC party. This will be his first election as the leader of the party. The 79 years old United Methodist Church ordained pastor and United States educated theology professor said UANC is the future political party that will usher Zimbabwe to its former glory as the ‘breadbasket of Africa’. He said he strongly believes in this notion regardless of the fact that his party is just fielding two candidates for National Assembly seats and 10 aspiring councilors in the forthcoming elections.

Gwinyai Muzorewa

Rev Dr Muzorewa is one of the 11 aspiring Presidential candidates in the forthcoming general elections slated for August 23. The incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is seeking a second term for the ruling Zanu-PF party, then others include Nelson Chamisa of the new Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) who is being pitted as the main rival, Joseph Busha (Free Zim Congress), Trust Chikohora (ZCPD), Blessing Kasiyamhuru (ZIPP), Lovemore Madhuku (NCA), Douglas Mwonzora (MDC), Wilbert Mubaiwa (NPC), Harry Peter Wilson (DOP) and Elisabeth Valerio of the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA), who is the only female candidate.

They were initially 12 Presidential candidates with the former Zanu-PF cabinet Minister Saviour Kasukuwere running as an independent candidate. He was however struck off the list by the High Court after a successful appeal by Zanu-PF activist, Lovedale Mangwana, who claimed Kasukuwere ceased to be a registered voter at law, having spent over 18 months out of the country. Another appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed last week but Kasukuwere has since filed another appeal with the Constitutional Court this week although the matter is yet to be set down for hearing.

Rev Dr Muzorewa said he decided to launch his new political journey in his home village area of Muziti where he grew up to get the blessings of his countrymen as a son of the soil.

“I was born here and attended primary school at Muziti. I am happy, honoured and humbled to receive all of you here as well as those from neighbouring villages such as Rukweza, Tokoyo, Toriro, Mapembere and others. If it was not for my upbringing from elders here, I would never have made it in life. I want to thank the community and traditional leadership in this area for making me who I am today.”

Adding, “To everyone here tell those who were unable to come that under Muzorewa there will be no more school fees, but free education for all and no more hospital charges, but free treatment in all public health institutions which will be well resourced with medication and well paid staff. You will also have tarred roads and industrialisation in rural areas. Those in cities will have clean water, good roads without potholes and adequate as well as affordable public transport and efficient refuse collection systems by the local authorities. We are known from our previous government under the late Bishop Muzorewa for giving people houses and we have the key to such development which we managed to completed in just six months back then. We will do it again if put in power,” he said.

The US-educated professor of theology also criticized the Zanu-PF government’s emphasis on tobacco as the prime commercial agricultural crop, citing that this strategy explains partly why the country has food deficiency problem and a propensity to import finished products despite having vast land that is farmable and mineral resources to beneficiate, creating more employment and more downstream manufacturing industries for its people.

“I met a child who told me he was 10 years of age and I was shocked because he looked the age of five. It means our children are no longer eating healthy and do not have enough food. But our farms are not only for tobacco. Yes, it brings in foreign currency but it cannot be eaten as sadza. I will use the farms to grow more food crops such as maize and sorghum, paying the grain farmers the same amount that tobacco farmers earn, because by so doing these farmers will be feeding the nation adequately and also helping feed all of Africa. Our people must eat in splendor, not the half-meals people are eating nowadays,” he said.

On mining, Rev Dr Muzorewa said under the UANC government investors must meaningfully develop infrastructure in the areas they will be mining before undertaking any mining operations, adding that there must be enforceable corporate social responsibility frameworks to ensure communities benefit from the exploitation of minerals in their area.

Rev Dr Muzorewa said he had a high paying job in the United States and has two houses in the leafy suburb of Borrowdale in Harare, but he could no longer be proud as a Zimbabwean based in the diaspora when his country was being perceived as a failed nation and ridiculed.

“These are the reasons I left the US to return home. You must know when I speak that this is not to please crowds, but to fear the word of God. He told me ‘Gwinyai, go down to the valley and deliver my people.’ I am a God fearing person who lives by the bible,” said the theology professor.

The event was attended by all the UANC aspiring candidates and senior party members. Rev Dr Muzorewa said he will be touring the whole country. On Tuesday and Wednesday he was in Matebeleland North and he will be expected to be back again in Manicaland for a rally in Buhera district soon.

UANC Background

The UNCA party was founded by the late Bishop Abel Muzorewa in 1971, back then called the African National Council. The late Bishop Muzorewa however died in 2010 aged 85 after battling from cancer. In its first election the African National Council won six of the eight African seats in the House of Assembly in the 1974 general elections. The party was then renamed the UNCA in 1977, but did not contest the 1977 general elections. However, the late Bishop Muzorewa was a member of the Transitional Executive Council set up to prepare the transfer to majority black rule in Rhodesia in 1978–79. Under the Internal Settlement in 1979, after a long period of conflict, the country became known as Zimbabwe Rhodesia. In the interim parliamentary elections of 1979, the UANC won a commanding 51 seats and the late Bishop Muzorewa became the first black Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia.

Post independence in the new Zimbabwe, in 1996 the late Bishop Muzorewa withdrew from the 1996 presidential election citing an uneven playing field. It was his first return to politics since 1985 when the party withdrew from the polls due to what it called a barrage of bad publicity, which eventually prompted his decision to take a sabbatical from politics. However, the party present-day under the leadership of his young brother Rev Dr Muzorewa, was revived in 2018, but it did not participate in the Presidential elections because Rev Dr Muzorewa had just returned home from the US and was not ready to contest.

Nonetheless, since his return in 2018, Rev Dr Muzorewa says he has been holding extensive stakeholder briefings with the party’s traditional structures throughout Zimbabwe and was also holding ‘greet-the-leader’s’ meetings with common citizens across the country.

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