NORTON legislator Temba Mliswa is often regarded as a “fork-tongued” politician who talks too much and claims no allegiance to any political party by day, yet he allegedly supports Zanu PF and President Emmerson Mnangagwa by night.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Mliswa recently drew the ire of female legislators when he bluntly told them in Parliament that their free 60 proportional representation seats should be cut to 20 as most of them were merely bench warmers.
The Norton MP and candidate for next month’s elections told The Standard in an interview that he was a very liberal person, and like any Zimbabwean he was free to support his favourite candidate, Mnangagwa, for the presidency despite him being the leader of Zanu PF, a party that he often blasted for corruption.
His forecast is that Mnangagwa will win the forthcoming elections because the white businesspeople who allegedly bankrolled the MDC-T in the past were now behind the new Zanu PF leader.
Ironically, Mliswa does not see eye-to-eye with Mnangagwa’s advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa, who he has on several occasions traded barbs with. Mutsvangwa, like Mliswa, is also sharp-tongued. But, Mliswa said his personal differences with Mutsvangwa did not necessarily mean that he could not vote for Mnangagwa in the coming elections.
“People think that I am a wolf in sheep’s skin, but I want to say that one does not need to be in Zanu PF in order to support Mnangagwa, or even to be a member of the MDC Alliance to support Nelson Chamisa,” Mliswa said.
“In this election, I will support Mnangagwa, but I also have no doubt that Chamisa will one day lead this country. It is only a matter of time.”
On his nasty experiences with Mutsvangwa, who is also eyeing the Norton seat, Mliswa said the war veteran must know that his post in government is the president’s advisor and not MP for Norton.
“It is possible to find children born of the same parents supporting different political parties. I support Mnangagwa for his leadership and capabilities, and to me I think that he is a good leader. For the next five years we need a good leader like Mnangagwa, but at the same time I do not want him to overstay,” he said.
The Norton MP said although he was disowned by Zanu PF in 2015, he still supported the ruling party’s ideology, albeit that he was totally opposed to generational takeover within the party where the same old people continued to want to cling to power.
“I agree with the Zanu PF ideology, but I do not support corruption within Zanu PF. The ruling Zanu PF is the only party I have known in my political career. However, as long as Zanu PF fails to admit to its violent past, and fails to work positively towards making amends for it, and to restore constitutionalism to its operations, then I will never want to be associated with them as an institution,” he said.
Inasmuch as Mliswa does not want Mnangagwa to cling to power for long, he said if he wins the Norton seat this would be his last term in Parliament.
“After this term it is either I assume higher office (presidency) or I stop being a politician. If I fail to win, I will accept because I have children and businesses to run,” he said.