TRY, try, try again, if at first you don’t succeed, try again. So goes the nursery rhyme, and there is nothing more apt than it to describe newly-elected Makokoba constituency legislator Tshinga Dube’s attempts at winning a parliamentary seat.
By Nqaba Matshazi
At the third time of asking, Dube finally landed his coveted Makokoba seat on Wednesday after so many failures and heartbreaks.
An ever-willing philanthropist, Dube has always walked the fine line between vote-buying and generosity.
He has always insisted his benevolence has nothing to do with politics, but he gives out of the goodness of his heart and this time, Makokoba constituency decided to express its gratitude by rewarding him with a seat.
Dube will not let MDC-T’s boycott of the by-elections or anything for that matter, rain on his parade. He has wanted the Makokoba seat for far too long to let such things spoil his party.
In 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis, he fed the elderly in his constituency, he nursed them, gave them amenities, but came a distant third.
Asked if this was not vote-buying, Dube, then, said it wasn’t. Instead, he said he was just giving back to the people before quickly remembering that he had once brought Michael Jackson to Zimbabwe.
It was just unimaginable to him that he could do so much for his people, including bringing the King of Pop to the country and still lose. Yet, that’s just what happened, he went on to lose.
“In 2008 I was disillusioned, I had put so much into the campaign and I wanted to quit politics,” Dube said just before the 2013 elections. “I had a lot of pressure from people to come back.”
Ahead of the 2013 elections, Dube brought in Freddy Gwala and Platform One from South Africa to perform for free, hoping this could do the trick.
After all, Michael Jackson was dead, and maybe Gwala and his ensemble could bring a change of fortunes for the former Zipra man, but alas he faced more disappointments.
“This time around, I am very hopeful, otherwise I would not have wasted my time (by contesting),” he said, before going on to lose again.
After losing in the 2013 elections, those close to him said he was ready to walk away, he had given his all and he had not been rewarded. He could not take the heartache anymore. Then disaster loomed late in 2014, Dube — or Tshinga as he is fondly called — was accused of plotting to unseat President Robert Mugabe.
Treason! Unforgiveable! A capital sin in Zanu PF. An accusation that can end any political career.
It is not clear what happened to those accusations, but Tshinga lived to tell the tale.
After the MDC-T recalled its rebel legislators, Tshinga thought he could give it another go, and finally the gods smiled on him.
Then came the master stroke, Tshinga decided to help local team Highlanders Football Club get a bus, which the team wanted so desperately.
The bus handover ceremony resembled a Zanu PF rally. Highlanders had sold its soul and was supping with the devil, social media screamed.
But the Zimbabwe Defence Industries boss stuck to his guns, saying he had long been Highlanders’ benefactor, yet no one complained. He said he bought the club a bar for $18 000 and paid expatriate coach Eddie May for years and yet no one claimed Bosso had sold its soul or lost its character.
But despite his benevolence, he still lost in elections – that is until he facilitated the importation of a bus for his beloved team.
“Wot the bus that did it,” Tshinga must be saying to himself now that he is in Parliament.
Tshinga polled 1 666 votes to beat four other candidates from Zapu, NCA, MKD and independents. If there’s anything to be learnt from Tshinga’s story, is never give up.
One day the tide may change. A good anecdote to share with children, maybe.
Tshinga has in the past promised to refurbish Stanley Square in Makokoba, which is literally an eyesore.
And once the stage is up, who knows, he might bring in Beyonce. Surely that can’t be too much to ask from a man who brought in Michael Jackson.