By Fortunate Gora
Like the Greek mythical character Icarus, Cde Marian Chombo dared to fly too close to the sun, and fortunately for her, she did not get burnt.
Icarus and his father, in an attempt to escape the clutches of the rulers of City State of Crete, made wings to fly off the tower where they were kept prisoners.
Icarus did not heed his father’s warning not to fly higher towards the sun and when he got excited, the boy lost his wings made of feather and wax.
Cde Chombo, known to many as Marian because she still carries her marital surname, a permanent marker linking her to former Finance Minister and Zanu-PF national secretary for administration Dr Ignatius Chombo, dared fly towards the sun.
However, after her ordeal in the Robert Mugabe-led Zanu-PF, Marian survived to bounce back as the party’s House of Assembly candidate for Zvimba North constituency.
Coincidentally, the Zvimba North constituency was her estranged husband, Ignatius’ fortress before he fell by the wayside for pushing the G40 shenanigans before Operation Restore Legacy last year.
During their tumultuous years, Marian and Dr Chombo fought a vicious battle that saw the former being rebuked in public by Mr Mugabe for challenging her former husband in politics at a rally at Chinhoyi Stadium.
She was even expelled for daring to fly too close to the sun in 2013 before joining former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First and, subsequently, becoming the National People’s Party chairperson for the women’s assembly.
In all these trying times, Marian remained resolute declaring that she had been hounded out of Zanu-PF by Mr Mugabe and her estranged husband.
However, the new dispensation, after Operation Restore Legacy, gave her a new lease of life after being allowed to re-join Zanu-PF.
Come July 30, Marian could be soaring high if she wins the Zvimba North House of Assembly seat, once occupied by her husband.
Marian also wants to score one better than her former husband who she feels did not work hard for the development of the constituency.
“Of course, some people take it that I was wife to the former MP for Zvimba North, who was also the Minister of Finance during the era but I was neither the minister nor the MP.
“However, the Zanu-PF supporters in Zvimba North have been nothing but amazing because they have separated me from my ex-husband and can actually see that we are two different people although we were once husband and wife,” said Marian.
Cde Chombo believes the former legislator failed to spearhead development in Zvimba North because he had many priorities.
“There are a lot of differences between me and him. I am a hands-on person and I have people at heart. When I do the analysis, it looks like the former MP had too much on his plate and he mixed up his priorities but to me the constituency is number one,” she said.
“If I get any other appointment that would be secondary. I have to make sure that I pay back to the community for trusting me and address their needs.”
Cde Chombo surprised many when she dismissed 14 other Zanu-PF aspiring candidates in a tightly contested primary election for the right to represent the ruling party come July 30.
She faces seven other contestants in the House of Assembly election including the MDC Alliance’s Godfrey Joe Luwesi, Nosper Gonga (MDC-T), Rosejoy Chirimanyemba (ZIPP), the PRC’s Tecla Imbayarwo, Paul Mushonga-Kembo of the National Patriotic Front and the UANC’s Nobert Matare while Edwin Matibiri will stand as an Independent.
However, all the candidates are faced with a gigantic task of trying to transform the fortunes of the area dominated by a variety of natural resources.
Zvimba North consists of Mutorashanga and Raffingora as the main centres dominated by mines and farming areas.
However, the potential in these economic activities has never been felt by the electorate who have grown accustomed to the dingy buildings at their shopping centres.
Most mines in the constituency have closed shop while the agricultural potential has never been realised.
The roads are atrocious.
A journey that is expected to last at least 30 minutes takes almost double that time.
Poverty levels continue to soar with parents struggling to send their children to school.
These challenges and many more have touched the motherly heart that spurred Cde Chombo to fight for the right to represent the people in Zvimba North.
She knows that Zvimba North is well endowed with natural resources including fertile soils and mineral such as gold, lithium, chrome, platinum and several others.
“I have set a goal to bring development to Zvimba North. The area has been neglected for so many years. The road network is poor, the hospitals and clinics have no medicines and the schools need refurbishment.
“Employment opportunities are next to none in Zvimba North yet we have gold mines like Eldorado, we also have Zimasco and a lot of land but if you look at the common man in Zvimba North, he has nothing,” she said.
“Their children are always chased out of school and they do not have a very good diet.”
She said given an opportunity to represent the people of Zvimba North, she would tackle issues of inequality in the society.
“We have to protect the vulnerable, that women and girls, especially girls from sexual exploitation and early childhood marriages.
“The physically challenged people also need our care while I will also facilitate that all Government’s initiatives programs get to their intended beneficiaries.”
She bemoaned the abuse of the Presidential Inputs adding that small-scale farmers in the constituency have not benefited from the programme.
President Mnangagwa recently launched the Women’s Bank and Cde Chombo believes all women in Zvimba North should benefit from the macro-finance institution.
She said winning the highly contested Zanu-PF primary elections did not made her feel superior but it was an opportunity to learn from her colleagues.
Cde Chombo is also confident she will deliver Zvimba North constituency to President Mnangagwa.
“I will win the election because people have confidence in me. I have always been doing well to them even before the campaigns. So that is why they voted for me during the intra-party elections,” she said.
From 2003 to date, Cde Chombo has been working with communities through a fund to assist school children with fees and uniforms.
She has also introduced school feeding schemes for children under five years of age.
“I built a class block and teachers housing at Mvou Primary School. I also repaired a classroom block at Perth Primary School,” she said.
In the health sector, Cde Chombo has provided mobile health clinics while also provided food and medication for people living with HIV.
Cde Chombo has drilled boreholes in several areas in the constituency while roads were also maintained through her efforts.
She has also set up Katawa Orphanage in Raffingora.
“I am a patron of children living with disability and HIV and I have been doing that without even thinking of becoming a legislator.
“So I can just say I am a people’s person and getting into politics is doing something that I enjoy. I don’t look at it as an extra job or some extra curriculum activities.”
Described by many in Zvimba North as a humble person, Cde Chombo holds a Bachelor of Science in Computers and Mathematics from Cheyney University in United States of America.
She also holds a Masters in Business Administration with University of Zimbabwe and has currently applied for a PhD programme.
Besides pouring through her books, Cde Chombo enjoys spending time with the electorate in Zvimba North.