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Why I joined politics: Vincent Tsvangirai

By Daniel Chigundu

Vincent Tsvangirai, son to the late MDC founding president Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai says the desire to change the country’s political landscape and to finish what his late sister Vimbai Java had started in Glen View South is what has led him to enter mainstream politics.

Aged 24 years, Vincent recently won the ticket to represent the people of Glen View South in the National Assembly after getting 3474 votes against a Zanu PF candidate who got 1534.

In an interview, Tsvangirai said he grew up during the time when his father was at the centre point of the struggle for democratic change, a time when there was a lot of political violence taking place in the country.

He said he saw many people who were beaten or injured in political violence coming to their house to seek help and refuge over the years adding that some of the injuries and wounds were traumatising and have given him the desire to want to change things.

“So the reason I entered into politics was a culmination of all these years of seeing people who were beaten, people with machete wounds on their heads, coming home bleeding and also the death of my sister. So there was also that part of me that was like I want to finish off what she had started in Glen View.

“So it was a culmination of seeing my sister what she did and also growing up what we had seen I want to change the political landscape because I don’t think going forward especially for my generation and a lot of generations behind me we can’t have the situation keep going on like this because we will waste more generations if we keep going on in the situation that we have in Zimbabwe so that is what prompted me to take up the challenge and to also stand for the people of Glen View South. I want to see things changing,” he said.

Tsvangirai added that while many people might think he has had a luxurious life, the truth is that he has actually experienced what most people have also experienced in the country adding that at some time they have been at the bottom of the bottom and he is tired of the situation and want to help change it.

“Whatever it will take for that situation to change I am willing to take all the necessary steps but as a young person, I am tired I have had enough of the situation in Zimbabwe. You know people tend to think because you are Tsvangirai you lived a life of luxury but people don’t know that it was probably the worst life that you could have lived.

“So I have experienced most of what everyone has experienced, we have been down to the bottom of the bottom so I know exactly what it is that people are hoping to get out of so that is why I joined, that is why I am in. Let me not say I joined, I have always been in it so yes that is why I am here,” he said.

The photography enthusiast-cum politician added that he is aware that some people are losing hope but called on them to remain hopeful adding that there is always light at the end of the tunnel even in difficult situations.

“There is always hope even in the worst of situations there is always light at the end of the tunnel sometimes it’s not easy to reach that tunnel but I believe there is hope.

“I always say I think as Zimbabweans, as political parties and all stakeholders of the country it’s important that we must figure out our own direction as Zimbabwe and I don’t think what other people want us to follow as direction is necessarily what will work here in Zimbabwe.

“I think we all just need to sit down get on the table and agree on how we want our country to move forward,” he said.

The legislator-elect said the time has come for young people to make their voice heard and that he is in Parliament to stand and represent them to demand a positive direction from the current economic, social and political situation bedevilling the country.

“As a young person, I think it’s the time we all just make our voices heard that this situation is no longer sustainable and we can’t keep going on like this. So I am here to stand for that voice and I hope other people will join me as well and all other young people.

“Enough is enough as young people we now need to see positive direction no matter what your political affiliation is we just want to see positive direction so that is what I stand for, that is my belief and I don’t think that will be shaken no matter what, or whether people try to say stand for this because you belong to this party or anything like that no I am very clear I want a better direction for Zimbabwe I want a better direction for my generation and generations after me so that they will know that there were generations before us and as well we can rest and say the young generation has now taken charge of the direction for this country,” he said.

Commenting on the political playing field, Tsvangirai said it is very difficult for young people to enter politics as they are often undermined adding that it’s not an easy road and that they need to be bold in taking that stand.

“It’s difficult for young people to enter politics; it’s very difficult though it shouldn’t be. Going into this race I found that there are a lot of people who underestimate you, who undermine you so it’s not easy at all but there is something I can urge young people to do that is just to stand firm and say I have decided on standing, I have decided to enter politics it’s not going to be easy.

“But if you are certain of yourself and you are sure that this is the path you want to take then I urge you to just carry forward, to just move on forward pave your own way.

“Sometimes in politics things are not going to be just handed over to you, you just have to grab the bull by the horns and challenge it that is the sort of motto that I work with, in my life so I am just going to grab the bull by the horns no matter how difficult it is, so yes it’s very difficult for young people, it’s not just politics but it’s also in a lot of industries.

“We have a lot of retired citizens who don’t want to hand over things to the younger generation they just want to keep holding on to things to until they pass away and there is no transition in these industries or politics or anything like that so I think for young people we need to just stay strong and help each other because there is no point in waiting for things to be just handed over to us we need to take charge of the situation,” he said.

Tsvangirai also took the opportunity to highlight that he is going to set his own pace not going to be pressured into participation in Parliament adding that he will first take time to study what it means to be a legislator and what is expected of him and then participate.

“In Parliament, I am going to pace myself, I am not going to try and do what people want me to do, I will pace myself, first study what it means to be in Parliament, once I have studied what it means then I will start seeing what points I can start tackling.

“But I am there to represent the people of Glen View South I am there as their servant. So whatever issues they have of which they are many, those are the first issues I will tackle in Parliament.

“So that is my directions forward, I am not going to feel pressured to speak on the first day or do anything that’s not me I take my time like I said I am a very simple person, I will take my time to study,” he said.

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is a male journalist in Zimbabwe and has been practising since September 2009. He used to the editor for The Business Connect (newspaper) in Harare, has his own news website Tourism Focus which is biased towards the tourism sector. Daniel is also working with Magamba Network on their project called Open Parliament where they do live coverage of Parliamentary activities on Twitter and Facebook. He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum, is a member of Zimbabwe Small Broadcasters Association and a board member of Digital Communication Network. He holds a Diploma in Communication and Journalism from the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA), a certificate in Youth leadership training from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), a certificate in Citizen Journalism from Magamba Network and is currently a first-year student at Zimbabwe Open University studying for a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Ethics and Organisational Leadership.

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