Zimbabwe Presidential Hopeful Bryn Mteki Dumps Koffi Olomide

Bryn Taurai Mteki

Bryn Taurai Mteki

The 43-year-old African roots musician, sculptor and businessman believes his stay in various countries over 16 years has moulded him into the man fit for Zimbabwe’s top political job.
Of the 23 Presidential candidates, he is the only independent runner.

Rhumba maestro Koffi Olomide’s new music project has to wait, because his recording partner Bryn Taurai Mteki has weightier issues to attend to: he wants to become President of Zimbabwe.

From penning songs for the eight-track album, which also features colourful businessman-cum-politician Dr Philip Chiyangwa, Mteki is writing the inauguration speech he hopes he will read after the July 30 elections.

Known as Sekuru Tau, Mteki shot to stardom for his song “Nora”, a duet with then Zanu-PF National Political Commissar, Cde Elliot Manyika, one of the melodies to which the Land Reform Programme danced.

Last week, he was back in the limelight.

He surprised many by filing papers to stand in the Presidential election race; and surprised even more by saying he was heading straight home and would not be on the campaign trail.

Mteki says he has an ace up his sleeve – but he will not reveal it just yet.

The Sunday Mail visited him at his recording studio in Harare on Friday.

“Sekuru Tau has a strategy. But I am not going to reveal that strategy; I will not tell my winning strategy to opponents.

“There is no way Barcelona will disclose its strategy to Real Madrid.

“But I can tell you, you are looking at the next President of Zimbabwe.”

Huge gold studs on the ears stylistically match his gold-tinted beard, and four thick dreadlocks are striking features of this aspiring President.

Mteki says people convinced him to go for the Presidency.

“I did not impose myself on people, but it is the people that want me and I have overwhelming support all over Zimbabwe,” he continues.

“I successfully filed my nomination papers that only should tell you that I have support.

“People might think I am joking, but this job is too big for someone to joke around with it.

“I was supposed to be preparing for a tour for my album due in this August, which I recorded with Koffi Olomide and Philip Chiyangwa – although I do not see myself dancing on the stage when I become President,” he chuckles.

The 43-year-old African roots musician, sculptor and businessman believes his stay in various countries over 16 years has moulded him into the man fit for Zimbabwe’s top political job.

Of the 23 Presidential candidates, he is the only independent runner.

In 2004 he pulled out of Zanu-PF’s primary elections, where he was up against Cde Joseph Chinotimba, at the 11 th hour.

“Most people think I am doing this because I was bought by some political parties to divide the vote, but the truth is I am being driven by the love of my country,” he says.

“I am a proud Zimbabwean, and when I sang ‘Nora’, I was being patriotic, nothing else.

“I remember some time back, I met the late Morgan Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa at OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa and we danced to the song.

“What I am saying is I do not belong to any political party.

“I belong to the people of Zimbabwe. Once I get into power, Zimbabwe will be a better country. That I promise.”

Will his look change?

Mteki says a President should be elected based on the feasibility and viability of ideas and proposed policies – not appearance.

“What is wrong with the way I look?” he asks back with a look of surprise.

“It is the ideas, the proposed policies that matter.

“I want Zimbabweans to have a better life, and it is all that matters.”

Mteki commends President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration for opening political and democratic space.

“It is a democracy that embraces everyone, even the Sekuru Taus of this world can now join politics,” he says as he prepares to leave for his next meeting.

“I am planning to use the road that passes through State House, so that by August I will be accustomed to it,” he says, before breaking into laughter and heading to the door.

Zanu-PF Takes Early Poll Lead

Zanu-PF has taken an early lead in the 2018 harmonised elections after some of the party’s candidates submitted nomination papers unopposed.

Zimbabwe’s incoming president Emmerson Mnangagwa (L) speaks to supporters flanked by his wife Auxilia at Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party headquarters in Harare on November 22, 2017.
Zimbabwe’s former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa flew home on November 22 to take power after the resignation of Robert Mugabe put an end to 37 years of authoritarian rule. Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president at an inauguration ceremony on November 24, officials said.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Matabeleland South provincial election officer Mr Rabson Nyoni said four Zanu-PF council candidates in the province submitted their papers unopposed and will, according to the Electoral Act, be declared duly elected councillors as of July 30, 2018.

Cde Sibongile Chauke was unopposed in Beitbridge Rural District Council Ward 13, while in Matobo North constituency, Cdes Tobias Sibanda, Thomas Ncube and Paul Ncube sailed through unopposed in Wards 22, 23 and 24 respectively.

“It means with effect from 30 July they will be duly elected councillors, according to the law. For now, they remain just candidates,” said Mr Nyoni.

Zanu-PF has all but secured a National Assembly seat too, after the MDC Alliance, touted by pundits as the closest thing to a challenger to the ruling party, failed to find a candidate to compete against Cde Farai Taruvinga in Insiza North.

In an interview, Cde Taruvinga said: “We have already begun meeting our obligations as a party. It is all evident in our work. The people are happy and thus we are confident they will make the right choice when the time to vote comes.

“They (MDC Alliance) fumbled a lot and couldn’t field a candidate. Their factional fights show that they are not united and this is why they even failed to have a candidate contesting. Even in their presence . . .  I felt no threat as I know that the people of our constituency will rally behind us. Now is the time to work and rebuild our country. Together we can, divided we fall.”

The MDC Alliance, led by Mr Nelson Chamisa, fielded more than one candidate in some constituencies and wards.

This was because Mr Chamisa reportedly imposed candidates in constituencies that had been reserved for his alliance partners.

Preliminary figures from ZEC show that a record number of candidates will contest the forthcoming harmonised elections.

More than 200 National Assembly candidates successfully filed their nomination papers for the 12 constituencies in Bulawayo Province, translating to an average of 18 candidates per constituency.

ZEC Bulawayo provincial elections officer Mr Innocent Ncube said while the verification process to come up with the final list was ongoing, indications were that the figures were unprecedented.

Four candidates had their papers rejected for various reasons, chief among them failure to secure the required number of nominations.

Mr Ncube said Magwegwe and Pumula constituencies recorded the highest number of National Assembly candidates at 24, while the lowest had 15.

He attributed the high numbers to the new political dispensation, where citizens have greater latitude to exercise freedom of expression and association.

“We are glad that we opened for nomination papers a bit earlier. That helped us a lot in easing the pressure because a number of candidates heeded the call to submit their papers early.”

Mr Ncube said for local government seats, more than 300 candidates successfully submitted their papers for the 29 wards in Bulawayo.

In Matabeleland North province, 156 National Assembly candidates were successfully nominated to contest the province’s 13 constituencies. Sixty-seven candidates will contest provincial council seats and 49 Senate seats.

Four National Assembly candidates had their papers rejected.

In Matabeleland South, 99 National Assembly candidates successfully filed their nomination papers across the 13 constituencies; while more than 500 did so for local government seats.-sundaymail

#ZimElections2018: Zimbabwe Presidential Poll Ballots Printer Named

THE country’s electoral administration body has contracted Fidelity Printers & Refiners to print ballot papers for the presidential election. Another government entity Printflow Pvt (Ltd) has been engaged to print ballot papers for the House of Assembly, senatorial and local government polls.

The printing of ballot papers has become one of the sticking points as Zimbabwe gears up for its first general elections since the toppling of long-time leader Robert Mugabe in a coup last November.

Information gathered by the Zimbabwe Independent shows that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) will print ballot papers for the forthcoming general elections locally.
It is understood that the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe gave Zec the approval to source voting materials through direct tender due to security and time considerations.

The Independent understands that South Africa-based paper and packaging giant Mondi Ltd had been contracted to supply newsprint to be used for printing ballot papers. There was heightened speculation that government was considering hiring a company from Eastern Europe to do the work, raising suspicion of manipulation.

The speculation gained traction after Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba and special advisor to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chris Mutsvangwa visited Russia to observe elections recently.

Mnangagwa is facing MDC Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa in the country’s first elections after the overthrow of Mugabe.

Former vice-president Joice Mujuru, former MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe and 17 others are also participating in the polls. A senior government official told the Independent the electoral management body had resolved to print ballot papers locally.

“The printing of the ballot papers is already underway. Fidelity will print ballot papers for the presidential election, while Printflow will print ballot papers for the other elections. Contesting parties are expected to witness this process starting next week,” the source said

“The commission will ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible and that the will of the people will prevail. What we will ensure is that the outcome of the elections will not create any disputes. We must come out of the elections more united than divided.”

Asked for comment last night, Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba asked for written questions through the commission’s acting chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana.

Silaigwana would not be reached for comment while questions sent to Zec officials in charge of public relatuions were not responded to at the time of going to print.

With just over a month before the polls, the opposition has raised the red flag, complaining that there is no transparency in terms of who will be responsible for the printing of ballot paper, while demanding the implementation of sweeping electoral reforms around Zec.

Last week, the MDC Alliance submitted a list of electoral reform demands. Some of the issues raised include impartiality of state-controlled media, an audit of the voters’ roll and transparency over the printing and security of ballot papers. Zec has dismissed the petition, saying it has no legal basis.

However, Section 52A of the Electoral Act mandates Zec to provide, without delay, the relevant information to all political parties and candidates contesting an election, and all observers.