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Meritocracy is possible: Gweru Urban MP Brian Dube says amid threats of partisan politics

Delicious Mathuthu

Gweru Urban Member of Parliament, Brian Dube, who is seeking a second term in office says voting people based on merit is possible amid fears of Zimbabwe’s partisan voting patterns.

A Lawyer by profession, Hon. Dube says most candidates hide behind political parties and sloganeering for their failures. With the split of the once most vibrant opposition party to emerge in post-independent Zimbabwe, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, Dube remained with the MDC-T led by Douglas Mwonzora who took the reigns of the party after fierce internal disputes spilled to the courts. His other colleagues jumped ship and joined the Citizen for Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa.  With MDC-T fortunes waning by the day, some members defected to either ZANU-PF or CCC but Dube remained loyal to MDC-T. There are mixed reactions amongst Zimbabweans as to the impact of MDC-T led by Mwonzora as the party failed to field candidates in many constituencies and wards for the August 2023 harmonised elections. Prophets of doom have already erected the political epitaph for the once vibrant opposition party on the land.

In an exclusive interview with Community Voices Zimbabwe (CVZ), Dube said five years is a long time for residents to regret voting in incompetent people.

“It’s possible to pursue meritocratic democracy and vote people on merit. We must go past this attitude of just voting for people who are unable to deliver but hide behind political parties and slogans. Five years is a long time to be regretting after voting for a person just on the basis of a slogan,” he says.

Dube says his job is not done yet in Gweru Urban despite implementing several developmental projects through the Constituency Development Funds (CDF), more so demanding accountability through Parliament.

“We have outstanding projects such as the Daylesford Community Hall, South View Police Base and Community Hall, Northlea-Nashville Police Base, Renovation of Gaffa Sports Centre and Senga Science Lab,” Dube says.

Several projects were implemented in the constituency in the last five years, Dube says, despite several challenges he faced, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We built Ivene Clinic, Pfende Clinic, Ascot High Lab and Admin Offices, (installed) mechanised boreholes at Pfende, Northlea, Muwunga, and Tinshel. (We also installed) manual boreholes (at) Pfende and Ridgemont,” he says.

In partnership with a Church, he says they managed to construct a new school at Ascot high-density suburb. In 2021, Dube says they managed to assist flood victims, adding that all projects were responsive and people-centered, and ‘highly impacting and transformative’, working with his CDF committee.

In Parliament, as part of demanding transparency and accountability on public resources, Dube says they tabled motions, led debates, and compiled reports on the Ministry of Agriculture Command Agriculture, State of the Auditor General’s Office, and COVID-19 resource utilisation.

Zimbabwe National Road Authority (ZINARA), State of Parastatals, and State of Local Authorities are part of reports compiled during his first term in office, and as Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.

“All these reports were adopted as true, objective, and balanced. Across the political divide, these reports were adopted without objections. The Executive accepted recommendations through Treasury Minutes and took responsibility. The recommendations are already being implemented including the stoppage of all advance payments by Treasury,” Dube argued.

He says Gweru has the potential to develop if leaders stop politicking.

“With proper orientation, Gweru is able to develop. Leaders must be accountable and responsive to community needs and not prioritise political party activities more than the needs of the people,” he says.

Dube argued that Gweru urbanites have a choice to make come August 2023 either vote for development and delivery or revel in party colors and slogans. Residents who spoke to this publication acknowledged developments done by Hon. Dube and his sterling work in Parliament, including those from the main opposition party CCC and ZANU PF.

Pakaipa… manje inonetsa iyoyo (tight, thats a challenge) because l have no problem with BD (Brian Dube) akashanda zvakanaka asi (he worked well but) can’t comment, zvinoita kunge ndave kumukambenera (it will be as if I am now campaigning for him). Politics dzonetsa, ndofunga wandinzwisisa zvandataura (Politics is a problem, I think you understand what I said)”, said one senior CCC opposition member when asked on their take of Dube’s performance as Gweru Urban MP.

Another Gweru resident  Rumbidzai Dube (not related to the MP), who is also a vendors representative, says Hon. Dube has people at heart and has implemented tangible projects.

“When I say people at heart I mean including People With Disabilities (PWDs), women, and youths. I can testify even for vendors, he advocates for us as vendors, especially in town. He is that one person who, when you approach a problem, tries to assist you not like others who would tell you I am busy this, I am busy that. Even when you meet him in the streets, he can assist you,” she says.

She acknowledges Dube’s CDF projects which she says have made residents’ lives a little easier.

“He installed boreholes; There were some areas which had water challenges but now because of Brian Dube they have water nearby,” she added.

Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) Executive Director, Cornelia Selipiwe, says Hon. Dube’s biggest threat back into office, is the culture of partisan politics.

“If he is not going to make it, it is because of partisan politics because the party that he is coming from is led by a person who has just withdrawn from the presidential race, a person who is not trusted by the masses; it creates some complications. I think people need to look beyond that. I tell you Brian Dube as an individual stands a great chance of being re-elected. If people were to look at what he has done, I don’t see any contestation in Gweru Urban,” Selipiwe says.

He says as a residents’ organisation, they have tried to push residents to vote for capable individuals based on merit, regardless of political affiliation.

“We have been trying and we will continue trying to make sure that we elect MPs based on capabilities and meritocracy. We are not going to vote for MPs because he or she comes from a political party that one wants, but MPs will be able to deliver. MPs that will come back to constituency indabas, MPs that engage with people in terms of issues that are affecting them, who are conversant with challenges that we have as the City of Gweru, who play their representative role properly not those bent on self-enrichment,” Selipiwe added.

Selipiwe argued that on a comparative basis, Honourable Dube’s work in the constituency and in parliament surpasses that of his peers by far.

“Look at the number of projects he has done in Gweru Urban; because you would want to compare him with his peers, Chiwundura constituency MP, Mkoba MP, even comparing him with various other MPs around the country, you will see he is one of the best MPs,” Selipiwe says.

During his term in office, Selipiwe says, Hon. Dube was in constant contact with residents, and the civic society and always attended public meetings that he was invited to, if he was available

On CDF projects, Selipiwe said they came as a relief to residents.

“Talk of Pfende Clinic, he spruced up the clubhouse to turn it into a clinic; remember people in the Pfende area dearly needed that clinic. The Ivene bar that he turned into a very modern clinic,” he says.

With serious water problems in Gweru, Selipiwe said the CDF solar-powered boreholes came as a big relief to residents.

It remains to be seen how the electorate will select their candidate as some believe the active legislator is in the wrong basket and is likely to have a mamoth task convincing the partisan electorate whose voting culture is based on binary thinking of either ZANU-PF or CCC to vote for him.

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