I will transform Epworth — Zalerah Makari

February 10, 2022

Aspiring legislator Zalerah Makari (ZM) says she is the best candidate to bring change to the constituency.

A former legislator for the constituency representing Zanu PF, the politician contested the 2018 elections as an independent candidate and is now back at the governing party.

Our senior reporter Anesu Masamvu (AM)  caught up with the aspiring lawmaker on her chances and other issues. Below are excerpts of the interview:

 

AM: For anyone who does not know you, who is Zalerah Makari?

ZM: My name is Zalerah Hazvinei Makari born on November 1, 1977. So, I am 44 years old now and a parent.

I am a hard working person, very honest, probably brutally honest. I like travelling, reading  as well.

I used to play basketball at school. I love  my family. For me, family is key, that is my core, that is my strength.

I love people and for as long as I can remember, I have been an advocate for people that are looked-down upon. I did my first degree at the University of Cape Town.

 

AM: What else do you do other than politics?

ZM: I am a farmer, and I am not a cellphone farmer. I actually go to the fields with my rain boots on. I also do business, I have a consulting business and I also do trade. Also, because our economy is not doing well, so I hustle, (kungo ngwavha ngwavha) like anybody. And wherever there is an opportunity I try to take advantage of it like anybody else so that I make a few dollars to keep the family.

 

AM: Take us through your journey into politics?

ZM: I was born and bred in the ruling party Zanu PF. Someone once said you cannot be Zimbabwean if you are not Zanu PF, Dynamos or Catholic. Well, that is a joke. But, I was born and bred in Zanu PF and when I was young I thought it was the only party in the world. But you know,  when I grew older and got interested, reading about the liberation struggle and where our country actually came from, I personally identified with the ideology of the party.

I started my journey in the United States of America, where I represented the party in different positions in the North American division of Zanu PF.

I came back to Zimbabwe in 2011, and worked for NetOne. At that time, I  remember reading in the newspapers that there was a by-election in Epworth, and what people don’t know is I am from Epworth.

Therefore, after seeing the National assembly seat vacancy I  decided  to throw in my hat as I met the requirements.

I qualified, and from then on, I won the primary elections then went on to serve Epworth up to 2018. That’s when my political public journey started.

 

AM: In 2018, you weaned off yourself from Zanu-PF and participated in the election as an Independent candidate, what happened?

ZM: When the new dispensation came in, certain individuals in my constituency decided to take advantage of that and kick out anyone who they felt was a threat. So unfortunately, my CV was not even put on the table to defend my seat, which is the norm for any incumbent.

My CV was removed and I was not able to contest the Zanu-PF primary election in 2018. That was heartbreaking for me.

However, I wrote a lot of letters to the leadership in the party, but at that time there was a lot that was going on.

While  being home, because I have a hands on approach, the leadership in the constituency came to me and said you did a very good job the three years that you served and you have to come back and it does not matter which jacket you come in.

 

AM: Fast forward to 2022 it is a completely different scenario, how do you feel representing the ruling party again?

ZM: I never left Zanu-PF emotionally, spiritually. I might have left physically because the space in which particular individuals were operating, especially in my constituency, my competitors, was not permitting me to be there. I never left, it is home, it is an honour to serve in our party.

 

AM: You have represented Epworth constituency before, that was from 2015 – 2018, and don’t you feel you should give others a chance?

ZM: Let me put this on record, I will not stay on the dance floor longer than my two minutes, The tenure of a legislator is five years and I have done three and in those three I  had to battle some elements that were not willing to go for development. So effectively, I worked for two years and in the two years; we managed to do significant work.

I will give you an example, I fought for almost a whole year for us to get a registrar general office in Epworth so that people can access essential documentation easily.

The issue of crime was a sore thing so we wanted more police bases so we got two extra police stations put in there.

We had two schools built during that tenure, a high school and a primary school.

An array of developments happened at the clinic, which we want to be a district hospital.

The Chiremba road that enters into Epworth was tarred, boreholes were drilled. I am actually embarrassed to talk about boreholes because that is not what we want to be, we want water reticulation, tapped water and boreholes are just a stopgap measure so that people have access to clean potable water.

 

AM: One of the problems in Epworth is early child marriages and commercial sex work especially amongst young girls, what is your plan to address this?

ZM: I did a lot of work with the sex workers. We did bakery and sewing projects with them to keep them busy. You need to also understand the psychology behind it. It is not an easy fix.

Their mindset has to be renewed that you can earn a living through other means. Poverty remains the biggest driver of early child marriages and commercial sex. We will continue to work and put a stop to early child marriages.

 

AM: So you think that you deserve to be voted into the National Assembly come March 26?

ZM: I think, I am the best candidate to bring the change and development required in Epworth.

I am tried and tested. I am not an opportunist. I have done it before and I can do it again. It is all about the electorate, If they chose me, I will humbly serve and execute the task.

 

AM: What are your promises if you win the March elections?

ZM: If I win, I will work with other contestants or candidates. We have to put Zimbabwe first. I am very opposed to the politics of mudslinging and violence that is old. Let us just present our manifestoes to the electorate and whoever they see fit to serve them will win. We can only rally with them.

 

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