Newly-elected Nkulumane legislator Kucaca Ivumile Phulu who retained his seat in Saturday’s by-elections says he is ready to go back to Parliament and push for electoral reforms ahead of next year’s harmonised polls.
Phulu was recalled in March 2021 by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which accused him of shifting allegiance to then Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
He managed to win his seat back with 2 760 votes while his ZANU-PF counterpart David Ndlovu who closely followed him received 1 900 votes, with MDC Alliance Gideon Mangena receiving only 150 votes.
Phulu told CITE he believes his victory was resounding notwithstanding the ZANU-PF candidate closely followed behind.
“I think even now the victory is resounding,” said Phulu.
“I was 800 votes ahead of the next person and if you look at the number of people who voted in terms of the voter apathy that was there it’s a whopping victory. In 2023 I need to simply focus on ensuring that people who support us go out to vote. There is no way we can denigrate or belittle the efforts of those who voted for us now because their votes are very important. What we must look at is there are people who voted for us and those people who voted for us won. If you look at the polling stations, in Ward 22 and Ward 23 you will see my gap and the next candidate; the votes were quite significant.”
He said if people do not go out and vote they risk silencing their voices.
“In 2023 again we are calling on people to register, on people to ensure they go out and vote because it is very important to register to vote and have your say. If you don’t go out and vote, you risk that your voice will not be heard and then you start crying tomorrow when things go wrong,” said Phulu.
He thanked the people of Nkulumane for sending him back to Parliament to finish his term in office.
“In 2023 the party will be consolidating, remember it’s a new party. We will be building proper structures in order to ensure that our campaign nationally is strong,” said Phulu.
On his assessment of the by-election Phulu had this to say: “People didn’t come out to vote but this is common in by-elections. People like to vote in the presidential election. That’s what makes people come out to vote. They feel that this election (by-election) is not an election that is going to change anything. Expectations are going to be higher in 2023 elections because people will feel that Nelson Chamisa has something new to offer and people will come out to vote, maybe in our faith.”
Phulu said the people of Nkulumane contributed to the growth of the new party.
‘For now, Nelson Chamisa has 19 Members of Parliament and that makes him an important national figure who cannot be ignored either by the State internally and by other States, externally. There is now a justification to invite him to discuss issues pertaining to Zimbabwe and Africa because he is an opposition leader who has Members of Parliament to speak of in Parliament. So that is the significance of this by-election, I am glad the people of Nkulumane contributed to that monumental moment,” he said.
He went on further to say: “As an opposition Member of Parliament, I promise to go to Parliament and apply the best of my ability to address topical issues, try and push for electoral reforms and outstanding bills. Most importantly there is a devolution policy and I haven’t seen anyone debating about it or asking the government when they are going to implement it. So those are some of the issues that I am looking forward to doing, these are the promises I can make make.”