By Tanyaradzwa Timbatimba
Some people in St Mary’s Constituency say they only voted for their under-performing legislator Dickson Tarusenga because he is MDC and also that he supported MDC president Nelson Chamisa.
Tarusenga is one of the many legislators in the National Assembly who hardly speak during debates or during Portfolio Committee meetings.
The legislator came into Parliament in 2013 and went on to retain the seat in the 2018 general elections despite being a poor performer and people in St Mary’s said they voted for him simply because he supports Chamisa.
“I personally voted for Tarusenga because he supports (Nelson) Chamisa and I believe everyone who is behind Chamisa can bring better changes to this community, ” said 24 year Rubben Bumbure.
According to MDC activist Rumbidzai Kudavanhu, she voted for Tarusenga because “he was the one who was representing the MDC A party which is my party so I had no choice but to vote for him.”
Other people who were interviewed in St Mary’s added that it was not only about the party he belonged to which made him win but also his ability to articulate his vision for the constituency and also his mature age.
“I was really convinced when he told me his vision during the election campaigns (in 2018) and his vision for St Mary’s was better than those of other candidates and so that made me believe that he was a suitable candidate for the post.
“I also believed that wisdom comes with age and among the candidates, I knew he was the oldest and the mature one hence he qualified to have my vote,” said Sekuru Manjenje.
There have been concerns over the qualification for one to become a legislator in Zimbabwe with some arguing that the process has seen unsuitable people getting into Parliament.
One only need to be above 21 years old and be a registered voter in a certain constitution for them to qualify to be a legislator in Zimbabwe.
Some people have even used their popularity and money to buy their way into Parliament but their money and popularity have failed to buy them performance in the House to the extent that there are several legislators from the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe who saw out their term without contributing to any debate in the House.
According to Christina Muremi, she voted for Tarusenga because he was better know than other candidates who were contesting for the seat.
“We knew Tarusenga better than the other candidates which made us vote for him.
“The devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know, we know his weaknesses and his strength that’s why we voted for him because we know how to work with him which made him outstanding over other candidates,” she said.
Contacted for comment on how he has managed to continue winning despite being less active in the House, Honourable Tarusenga confirmed that running under the banner of MDC Alliance played a huge part in his bid and that he also made some efforts of his own.
“The name of the party and also my efforts helps me in winning the elections over my rivals.
“People love MDC A which makes it easy for me to win the elections as the name of the party campaign for me but not only do the name of the party campaign for me, I also use failures by MP’s who came before me to gain votes.
“From 1980 up to 2013 when I became a legislator for St Mary’s no developments had been made in the constituency but everything changed for the better when I came in.
“I developed the constituency through the drilling of about five boreholes, as well as putting a borehole and constructing a perimeter wall at St Mary’s clinic which is the biggest clinic in the constituency,” he said