ACTIVIST-TURNED-POLITICIAN Josphat Mzaca Ngulube is running as a candidate for Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South Constituency in the 2018 polls.
BULAWAYO: Many remember him as that bold activist who hogged the limelight as a lone protester against under siege ZIFA President Philip Chiyangwa over alleged bias against Bulawayo football favourites, Highlanders.
Many saw the viral images of a young, half-naked young man which went on to appear on numerous international media outlets during the #ZimShutDown protests, but very few knew this could be activist-turned-politician Josphat Mzaca Ngulube who has since thrown his hat into the 2018 political ring as an aspiring independent House of Assembly Legislator for Bulawayo South Constituency.
File image: Mzaca was active during the #ZimShutDown protests
He is young. Probably in his mid-30s but he has chosen to jump into the ring where chances of survival are close to zero. And on Saturday, he launched what he dubbed the “Meet the People Rally” in his Sizinda home township, South of Bulawayo.
Currently, the Constituency is under MDC-T which remained with fewer seats in the City after it ‘donating most of its slots to the ruling Zanu PF when the party recalled legislators who had defected to a faction led by Tendai Biti.
And for an independent candidate, convening such a modest audience—of more than a thousand people—worse still a newcomer, is by all standards a shocker to other aspiring candidates, especially those from mainstream political parties.
“I decided to go it alone because I could not find a political party which resonates with my beliefs, Mzaca told us Saturday, on the sidelines of his meet the people gathering which was attended by a mix of millennials and the elderly members of the community.
“They are characterised by internal fights,” Mzaca said in apparent reference to the country’s opposition political parties.
Part of the audience which attended Mzaca's Rally
Early this month, Mzaca organised a demonstration for pensioners in a bid to compel the Government to increase their monthly earnings. The demo which occurred at the City Centre saw Mzaca, who calls himself “Mzaca Wabantu” which loosely translated means “Mzaca for the people”, leading pensioners to petition the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), a government’s statutory body tasked with handling pension funds.
“They (current and past) Members of Parliament from my Constituency do not represent the people—and even reside in Harare. This is what I want to change. I stay with the people and represent their interests,” Mzaca said about his desire for change.
“My campaign is hinged on this. That is, changing how legislators relate with their constituents.”
Although he is already on a serious campaign trail and believes he will emerge victorious in the upcoming plebiscite, Mzaca is pessimistic polls will be rigged. He says, even reforms which the new government led by Mnangagwa have not yet been implemented and this does not indicate prospects of fair and free elections.
Mzaca joins several notable activists across the country who have since declared their candidacy as independents in the upcoming polls. The increase of independent candidates in the upcoming polls have been attributed to the loss of confidence in established mainstream political parties, especially the opposition, which since 2013, has been rocked by infighting.
In the past, very few independent candidates have been able to win or at least garner a third of the total vote in the country's general elections. — Editing by Divine Dube