A Mberengwa born Political and Public Administrator and Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) member Sibekhithemba Mangena has vowed to challenge Joram Gumbo in the upcoming 2023 elections for the legislative seat in Mberengwa West Constituency, this publication can reveal.
With the support of Mberengwa people, the forty two-year-old, is preparing to unseat Gumbo in the upcoming elections
Gumbo’s twenty-six year reign as Mberengwa West MP since 1995 has been condemned by many for lacking development especially in terms of roads, hospitals and water supply. However, someone from the same party has decided to challenge him
Mangena was born and grew up in Mberengwa Ward 14, Chebvute and is also a former member of the Zimbabwe National Army.
Popularly known for his social mobilising music and as an actor for the local drama “Chivi Chinodya Mwene Wacho”, Mangena made his intentions clear for political office earlier this year when he released his first political hit song titled “Panyama” in which he hailed Mberengwa to rally behind him and the song also heralds his love and passion to raise Mberengwa from the shackles of poverty.
In an interview with this publication, Mangena confirmed the development and stated that he is prepared to work hard to develop Mberengwa.
“When elected, as a soldier I will hit the ground running,” he said.
Norman Zibanga, a Mberengwa West resident endorsed Mangena as the deserving Member of Parliament for Mberengwa West Constituency in the upcoming elections stating that as a political intellectual he has better understanding of how to run the constituency
“Leading people in the field of politics needs someone with enough knowledge, and Mangena with his degree in Politics added with his current studies towards Master degree in Development studies with Great Zimbabwe University, he is a perfect match and suitable for bringing development to our forgotten land of Mberengwa,” Zibanga said.
One unidentified lady from Mberengwa West endorsed Mangena when he stated that Mberengwa is in disarray and in need of someone of his calibre.
“The absence of good roads worsens suffering of people, but if we support Mangena he will channel our problems to the government and Mberengwa West will develop,” she said.
Another Mberengwa West resident, Olivina Manyangeni from Chavengwa, said Mangena is the deserving man to represent Mberengwa West in parliament because he is the son of the soil who will never let his hometown down.
“Sibekhithemba Mangena deserves to go and represent us in parliament because he is a true son of Mberengwa who was born and grew up here and he knows the problems facing this community,” said Manyangeni.
Prosper Shoko a youth from the same constituency expressed his disappointment in Gumbo for failing Mberengwa saying that he could not develop the roads which are a necessary network to bring development to their area.
“Starting with the roads, there is nothing worth appreciating he did except putting up fake initiatives every time election comes. By the time he (Gumbo) was appointed minister of transport, I thought busy roads like West Nicklison highway would be tarred but the gap remained the same still on, bridges like Jeka which was destroyed by cyclone long back was not repaired, rather they made a wooden bridge which is just a death trap,” Shoko said.
However, Mangena said he appreciate Gumbo for making some developmental strides through building schools in Mberengwa though he believes it is time for the youths to take the lead and bring better development in the area.
“I acknowledge some of the improvements done by Joram Gumbo such as the construction of Chebvute Secondary School, Marirazhombe, Zvavagavi Primary not yet finished, Chebvute clinic not yet finished. Still the development is lagging behind probably he is committed with other government tasks, as such, new blood should take over,” Mangena said.
Efforts to speak with Gumbo were fruitless, however Chengechuru Ward 33 councillor Tekere Mhloro said they are yet to get official information on who Mangena is or what he wants to be.
“…I haven’t heard anything about Mangena. Is he from Chebvute or Zanu-PF? Which position does he hold or have in the party. So he just wake up and say he want to be an MP when we do not even know anything about him. Maybe he will approach the relevant authorities in the party and inform about his aspirations. Zanu-PF has a structure where people come from grassroots with positions held up to the district level this is how we will determine if he has the qualifications, maybe I am the only one who does not know him because I am just hearing about him now,” said Clr Mhloro.
Other political opponents for Joram Gumbo in the previous elections include Major Magidha who contested against him in 2018 and failed before that, Major Shava had also contested in 2013
In terms of roads, medical facilities infrastructure and water supply, Mberengwa region is still facing some serious challenges.