The ruling ZANU-PF party, which has over the years struggled in urban areas, claimed significant victory in the recently held by-elections, managing to wrestle three parliamentary seats previously held by the opposition.
The ruling party managed to clinch seats in Mabvuku, Mutasa South and Epworth, helping to maintain a two thirds majority in parliament.
But it was in Epworth were the battle was more bruising’; an all-female race which pitted Zalerah Makari of ZANU-PF against Earthrage Kureva of the Citizens Coalition for Change.
Makari emerged the victor, garnering 10 248 votes against the 8 283 votes scored by Kureva.
And this week, our reporter Albert Chavhunduka (AC), caught up with Zalerah Makari after she was officially sworn in at the National Assembly as the Member of Parliament representing Epworth constituency.
Below are excerpts of the interview with Zalerah Makari (ZM).
AC: You’re one of the candidates who participated in the recent by-elections and won one of the three seats that ZANU-PF managed to snatch from the opposition. How does that victory make you feel?
ZM: I’m proud of the work that I did and very excited that ZANU-PF was able to bring back the seat home. Epworth voted for ZANU-PF because we actually put in the work so yes I’m excited because we worked very hard for this victory.
AC: Past elections have always shown that the opposition party has a strong support base especially in urban areas and your party ZANU-PF has never performed well in these areas but you managed to beat your opposition rival in Epworth. What’s the secret to your success?
ZM: My success in Epworth speaks to the fact that people are tired of a narrative that doesn’t work. It’s actually a myth that all urban seats go to the opposition because I defied that.
People just want people that work and represent them well and the people so that we’ve given the opposition a chance in the past but now we should go back to the ruling party that can actually deliver. So you know, it’s just the work and what we are able and capable of doing as a party for the people of Epworth.
AC: Now that your supporters voted you back into parliament, what should they expect from you as their parliamentary representative?
ZM: I’m really excited, I’ve been here before and now I’m back again to finish what I started.
So we are going to work extra hard because the things that we started to work on that we had not completed for example regularisation of all seven of the wards in my constituency, water and electricity provision and all social amenities.
Epworth is just 15km out of the CBD and we want to make sure that it must be on the map.
We want to build more schools and our children to have top notch education. So all the amenities that you can see in other suburbs, we also want to bring them to the constituency.
AC: You got into parliament mid-term and we are just a few months away from another election in 2023. Do you think you’ll have enough time to make an impact to achieve all your plans?
ZM: I’ll have enough impact and for the next 10 months we are hitting the ground running.
We’ve actually started road rehabilitations for example Delport road from Manyame Air Base to the boundary of Epworth and Sunway City where work is already being done. I promised people to get the road fixed and it’s happening now.
So 10 months is not necessarily a long time but people will be confident in what we would have done, confident enough to vote convincingly for us in 2023 because we have already started the work.
So 2023 is already done and dusted as far as we are concerned.