Fungai Lupande Mash Central Bureau—
Stephen Kabozo, ZANU-PF National Assembly candidate for Mt Darwin South constituency, is not an ordinary man.
Cde Kabozo (44) witnessed the brutal nature of war when he helplessly watched his seven-year-old brother die after their homestead was bombed by Rhodesian forces during the liberation struggle.
The soft spoken Cde Kabozo battled it out with 20 other contestants during the ruling party’s primary elections, including ZANU-PF Youth League political commissar Cde Godfrey Tsenengamu, television personnel Andrew Neshamba and his colleague Tendai Munengwa, and still emerged the winner.
He is promising an overwhelming victory for President Mnangagwa, ZANU-PF, himself and councillors in a constituency with an estimated 33 635 registered voters.
Mashonaland Central has 403 districts and Cde Kabozo’s constituency is the largest.
“We don’t want just a win, but a resounding victory. Some people question my interest in politics.
‘‘They don’t know my history. In 1979 our homestead was bombed and my brother Andrew, who was only seven, did not make it and died in the blankets we were in.
“I woke up and the house was on fire and I managed to crawl out and escape. This is the day I realised that war causes suffering. I grew up in the party and my father is an ex-combatant. I grew up knowing the impact of war,” he said.
“I went to school and my opportunity to defend the party came with the new dispensation. I joined the race because there was a vacancy in the constituency. I am not a chancer; I was a member of the Youth League soon after secondary school. My first position was in the main wing in 2012 in the transport and welfare department for the Mukaradzi District.
“In our campaign here, we are working together with those who didn’t manage to win in the party’s primary elections. The primaries are over; it’s now time to campaign for the President and the party. The primaries were an in-house issue, we are united and we are supporting each other.”
He said water shortages are the major challenge in his constituency.
“We need clean drinking water. I managed to repair about 20 boreholes that had been broken down for years. People here had resorted to drinking water from wells. I also managed to drill four boreholes, and I think this is what made me the people’s favourite. I am a hard worker and I work closely with people from my constituency.
“We are in need of dams in this constituency. Weir dams were pegged, but there is no cement to complete construction. The weir dams will help us in preserving water for irrigation purposes and we can start fishery projects.
“The issue of water is a priority that needs to be addressed first and other things like projects will follow.
“People are demanding projects like poultry because they want to earn a living and send their children to school. They will also be able to use money from these projects to develop their areas,” he added.
“We can start with 400 chicks per district and provide the poultry feed; the total cost will be about $700. This means that we need about $16 000 for the 22 districts in this constituency. From proceeds of the project people can look after their families and also be able to repair boreholes when they break down.”
The aspiring National Assembly member also highlighted the poor state of roads in the constituency, especially Mt Darwin-Chibondo Road.
“I want the Government to assist me in implementing these projects. Our roads are bad, especially Mt Darwin-Chibondo Road, and we are engaging the rural district council to avail a road grader. Ruya Mine was helping us in grading the road, but from Chibondo up to Mashumba the road is very bad; it needs to be graded for it to be passable.”
Cde Kabozo also spoke of the challenges that schools in the constituency face: “At Chatumbama Primary School some pupils do lessons outside buildings due to overpopulation.
The school is not electrified; electricity is there, but the school does not have money for internal tubing. We are hoping to build more blocks to ease overcrowding at the school. Matope Primary School also needs more blocks.
“The situation is the same at Mutondwe Primary School where there is a critical shortage of water. They share one borehole with the community and the water supply is not adequate.
‘‘During school events, schoolchildren clean their hands with tree leaves due to unavailability of water.
On healthcare facilities, he said there were only two clinics, one at Nyamahobogo and another at Matope, which were not enough to cater for the needs of the constituency. The recently electrified Matope Clinic also boasts of portable water.
Cde Kabozo said small-scale miners in his constituency needed assistance with machinery and clean drinking water.
“Artisanal miners here need machinery to use and they don’t have water. They can be assisted with machinery to extract gold in groups.
‘‘They will then sell their gold to Government, contributing to the economic development of the country.
‘‘They also need a borehole at their workstation because currently they are drinking water from the river.”
Cde Kabozo is married to Phillis Jokera and they are blessed with four children. True to the adage that behind every successful man there is a strong woman, Mrs Kabozo helps her husband during campaigns.
She engages in different projects with women in the constituency.