Nimrod Lunga is the MDC Alliance candidate for Vungu constituency in Lower Gweru and a member of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC.
By SILAS NKALA
He successfully filed his nomination papers in the Midlands and will represent the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance in the upcoming polls.
Southern Eye reporter Silas Nkala (SE) spoke to Lunga (NL) about his background, aspirations, interests and promises to the constituency.
Below are excerpts:
SE: Can you briefly give us an overview of yourself?
NL: Nimrod Lunga is a child of Lower Gweru, who was born and bred in Makhulambila in Lower Gweru. I am 37 years old and married with three children. Having done my schooling at Dufuya Primary School and attended Makhulambila Secondary School and Lower Gweru Mission in Vungu, I understand all the problems and wishes of my constituency. I hold a diploma in finance administration from Southern Africa Institute of Chartered Accounts and Auditors and I am a businessman.
SE: What motivated you to stand as a candidate?
NL: Our country is at crossroads and for the first time in a long time people have the power to change Zimbabwe’s political landscape and the Vungu constituency.
We have suffered for a long time and we have had enough of promises that have never come to be true for 38 years now. My running for the MP’s post is, therefore, motivated by bringing genuine change to Vungu and improving the lives of our people.
SE: You indicated that you are a child of Lower Gweru, which key issues have been ignored by previous legislators for the constituency?
NL: With no doubt Lower Gweru has lagged far behind in terms of development because of selfish leaders who have advanced their personal interests at the expense of us.
During the past decade in Lower Gweru there has been no meaningful development in terms of roads, clinics, schools, jobs, farming, no post office, no industry just to mention a few. One would ask why…? This is because of the leadership we have been choosing, a clueless and selfish leadership.
SE: Having said that, what are you offering which is different?
NL: As a child of Vungu constituency, I have identified the key areas that would help improve the livelihood of our people in this constituency. Economic development is the cornerstone to prosperity for our people. For many years, this has been neglected by government leaders and MPs, and I plan to change all of that. I am proposing Lower Gweru revitalisation project (towards a growth point status by 2022) that would promote new businesses, new residential areas, and new open green areas to bring business people back to the heart of Lower Gweru.
Current leaders have allowed Lower Gwelo to die, preferring to invest in their personal properties more so in outlying areas.
SE: Do you think you have an edge over other candidates vying for the constituency?
NL: My opponents, both outgoing and aspiring, lack the vision of long-term solutions. Such a shortsighted stance fails to consider the needs of future generations . . . our children and our grandchildren. My generation doesn’t want to be remembered for a road we build today, but for a more visionary transportation system for the future.
SE: What is your thrust on education?
NL: Why should we have children walking for more than 10km to the nearest school? Believe me, there are still areas where such distances are still being walked to the nearest school.
During my first term of tenure as MP, I will mobilise resources from locals and donors as well as the Education ministry to build at least three schools, so that our children enjoy and value education.
For our community to produce first class students, our teachers should be valued. My administration will work with communities and parents to come up with a system to value our local teachers by giving them incentives like land, and participation in commercial projects.
Each school will also be given land to carry out commercial projects that will aid in school development and teachers’ welfare.
Also there are plans for a Lunga scholarship and the Lower Gweru Alumnus Fund.
You might think that $20 school fees is very little while most of the parents, ogogo laboKhulu who are left with these intandane (orphans) cannot even raise $5 per month for their upkeep.
I will establish a simple scholarship fund from my personal proceeds to pay fees and basic school requirements for 20 students under the Lower Gweru Alumni Fund.
SE: Is there a buy-in from former students in the constituency?
NL: Having spoken with a lot of former students (and general inzalo yakithi) from many schools around, we are going to form and register a formal fund and association which will receive donations and subscriptions from every member.
The fund and donations will cater for school fees, foodstuffs and basics such as clothing, blankets, shoes, computers etc. We are targeting 2 000 members each paying $1 per month plus non-cash donations. With around $6 000 per term, LAF can do wonders for the Vungu constituency.
SE: Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the economy, what are your plans for the constituency?
NL: True indeed. Lower Gweru has a very vibrant agricultural system, particularly horticulture. I plan to advocate for further maintenance of our current irrigation schemes in the area and look for more markets for our produce. Lower Gweru actually has the potential to host a fruit jam and juice-making factory.
I have started putting mechanisms in place to ensure this potential is not wasted.
In addition, I have already identified resources for at least four poultry projects with each producing 5 000 birds every eight weeks. A market for this has already been secured. Possible centres that have been identified include Maboleni, Sogwala, St Faith/Shagari and Makepesi. These projects will employ more than 100 youths.
I will build recreational facilities, lodges, conference rooms and fish farming projects around Insukamini Dam.
SE: Most rural road infrastructure is in shambles, is it any better in Vungu?
NL: Not at all. Sadly, the road network that was built around 1998 has been left unattended by the previous administration.
No efforts have been made at all to build roads for areas like Maboleni to Nkayi, Ephaneni to Shagari, Dimbamihwa to Ntabamhlophe, Vungu to Makhulambila. With a proper government and a visionary MP, institutions like Zinara and Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development can be activated to provide funding to improve our road network.
I will be vocal and undertake serious engagements in order to have our roads developed. As for bridges and general leveling of roads, those we shall do on our own as a community.
SE: Are locals benefiting from the mining activities in the area?
NL: We want to formalise these mining activities. We are going to ask for a small community levy from those buying gold to be part of the community benefit scheme.
Working with the government, we shall assist the communities to legally acquire gold claims.
I have also noted that many greedy businesspeople from Gweru are contributing to environmental degradation by collecting river sand (itshebetshebe) from our rivers without consulting the communities.
My administration will create a formal industry out of this and the community will be in charge of selling this resource to the whole of Gweru and beyond and the proceeds go to the Lower Gweru community fund.