Nkulumane legislator, Kucaca Phulu, has advised people in Matabeleland to support their local politicians, as that will make them become better representatives and articulate issues well.
Lack of support, Phulu said, would result in local politicians being captured by other forces who have different interests than those of the constituents.
He noted voters expected their representatives to articulate Matabeleland issues well and when they fail, become angry, accusing politicians of incapability yet they are influenced by those who support them.
Phulu said this at a recent meeting hosted by Masakhaneni Trust for various civic society members and residents to explain what the roles of Member of Parliaments are.
“We shouldn’t go around claiming we have politicians in Matabeleland…,” he said pausing for effect and continued, “of course the politicians are there, it’s a good thing but they need your support.”
He pointed out that support was not only financial but could be verbal, moral or social.
“You can support someone verbally by giving them tips, talking, or encouraging them on whatever platform you offer them,” said the legislator.
Phulu warned that lack of support could drive one to receive support from external sources who harboured theirown interests.
“Imagine this, I go to Mutare and I find a powerful man there who says ‘Phulu, since you are campaigning in Nkulumane, here’s $100 000 for you to use’. Isn’t I am a Matabeleland politician, I campaign, start printing t-shirts and do whatever.
“Right you the people in Nkulumane have voted for me and then send me to be your representative. As I do so, I see that man who funded me, now is that a safe situation? Is that desirable?” asked the legislator, posing a question on whose views the politician would represent.
The Nkulumane MP juxtaposed his example with how the state outlaws funding of local politicians by eternal forces, as a measure to protect local interests.
“This is why the state cries against external funding of local politicians, I think the law outlaws it and it’s good rationale, it makes sense,” Phulu said.
He added that there was no law that said people cannot support candidates in different political parties.
“Is there such a law? Our approach should be to scan who is there and identify your person who holds a certain view then you can always lend support to them. By so doing you make sure they don’t fall into wrong hands through the issue of funding,” Phulu said.
“I’m not campaigning for you to fund me, that’s not what I’m saying and I’m not talking about money. I’m saying put your candidates and strengthen those candidates that you think are going to play your card and your hand. Strengthen them and protect them from being bought as well.”
The legislator noted that people cry about certain decisions made in Parliament but such is determined by how people vote, as certain parties have their own policies.
“You ask us what we are doing in Parliament but some decisions are not done after the elections, they are done on the day elections are announced. You know how that government’s policies would be like, we know from day one and they will not change. They will only change after five years, well there was an intervening incident (in 2017 refering to the coup d’etat) but let’s look at elections and take them seriously,” said the Nkulumane MP.
Phulu, also the MDC Secretary for Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs, urged people to register and vote.
“People here are so discouraged that they don’t register anymore” and reflected that perhaps this had to do with electoral losses.
“Perhaps it’s because we have been sold a mentality yet again or maybe this our fault as MDC, people in the opposition space. We have said the function of going into elections is to remove Zanu PF and we have told them that.
“Their mindset is to remove Zanu PF such that they have forgotten about the other purpose of having a representative because even if you don’t remove Zanu PF you still need a quality representative. People have forgotten that and it is our fault as we framed our argument that going to vote is removing Mugabe or removing the party in power,” said the legislator.
Phulu explained that voting enriched the process of choosing leaders, even if “Mugabe remains” but the procedure of choosing a president is enriched.
“When the election process is enriched a presidential candidate will have certain constraints. These are suggesting that people have to think about,” he summed.