AFTER a false start, having lost council elections, Joseph Tshuma has finally found a new lease of political life beating Zanu PF politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu in primaries to stand for the party in the Pelandaba-Mpopoma constituency.
Although Tshuma is little known countrywide, he claims to be “very popular” in the constituency hence his ability to beat Ndlovu, a Zanu PF stalwart, in the primary elections.
“I have always been with people in my constituency. I live with them,” he said in a wide ranging interview with Southern Eye.
“In good times I celebrate with them and in times of grief, I mourn with them.
“They understand me so much. That is why they voted for me.”
He, however, downplayed beating Ndlovu — whom he described as his mentor — in the primary elections.
“I didn’t beat him,” he said. “Rather the people chose me to stand as a candidate in the constituency.”
Tshuma said it was too early to celebrate and there were bigger fish to fry in the forthcoming elections.
The youthful Tshuma does not immediately strike one as a politician. His trademark has become flashy chains, necklaces and big rings on fingers of both hands.
He hopes to turn the tide in Bulawayo and secure at least one seat for his party in Bulawayo, a big ask for a party that has a long history of losing polls in the city.
Asked what his chances will be, Tshuma was optimistic that people would vote for him, even though he was roundly rejected five years ago.
“I will emerge the winner in that race,” he said. “Common sense will show people that there is no other candidate they can vote for except me.”
While Tshuma has every right to be optimistic, history does not favour him or his party.
Tshuma, however, described the 2008 elections as a protest vote.
“People were hungry and the economy was on its knees. Reason did not prevail at that time,” he said.
“They would have even voted for a donkey.”
Tshuma said he was not standing as a candidate in order to make money.
“I’m not like some of the people who want to be in Parliament so that they could buy a car. I already have a number of cars,” he said.
“I have made my own money through hard work. I am only there to represent the people.”
He took a swipe at the calibre of some legislators in the previous Parliament, describing them as mediocre.
“There were some mediocre parliamentarians there,” he charged.
“Some even left the House without uttering a single word. I am not like that. I will bring to the fore the concerns of the people.”
The flamboyant businessman, without any hint of irony, said growing up in a Christian family taught him to be humble.
“I am inspired by Christian values. I believe that every person must have a sense of belonging in God,” he said.
He will battle it out with seven other candidates from MDC-T, MDC, Zapu as well as some independent candidates.
Born in Pelandaba suburb in 1976, Tshuma did primary education in Hwange as well as in Bulawayo.
He did secondary education at Mzilikazi High School, before studying for a Diploma in Marketing as well as another one in information technology.
Tshuma is now a holder a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology.
He founded his first ICT company in 2001 and runs a milling company, a gold mine, a butchery and a sports bar.
He is married to Beauty Nyoni and they have two children.