Nyore Madzianike Senior Reporter
THE young genteel and restrained South African immigrant Cde Joshua Kurt Sacco (Zanu PF) has thrown his hat into the ring to challenge for the Chimanimani East constituency after emerging victorious during the revolutionary party’s primary elections held a fort night ago.
Sacco, who stand against as yet unknown candidates in harmonised elections set between July and August, is better known for his involvement in music than as a political activist.
He is optimistic about his chances of making it into the ninth parliament. Historically, white immigrants would focus on farming, got the job done, and did not talk much about politics, but ambitions to change things in his Chimanimani hood have opened a new front for him.
Cde Sacco did not relocate to Zimbabwe on his own volition, but was taken aboard by his parents who sought refuge in the country from apartheid South Africa after involvement in anti-apartheid blitzkrieg with the African National Congress (ANC).
He was only three-years-old then. Most people did not know him until the turn of the millennium when he burst onto the music scene with his Radiation Band, which is famed for the hit song Chenjera. The band belted revolutionary songs at the height of the agrarian reform and zanu-pf rallies. That got him nicknamed ‘Kamurungu keZanu PF’ as at that juncture most whites begrudged the zanu-pf Government for seizing their land for redistribution to the landless blacks.
Cde Sacco was to eventually make history when he became the pioneer white youth to join the rank and file of the zanu-pf national youth league executive after independence. Currently, he is the zanu-pf Central Committee member and the party’s candidate for Chimanimani East in the forthcoming harmonised elections.
Born to politicians, Robert Paul and Mary Elizabeth on August 22, 1978 in Cape Town , Cde Sacco lived the rest of his life in Zimbabwe after his parents crossed Limpopo at the height of the apartheid blitz. His parents were active ANC comrades.
After crossing the border in 1981, the Saccos settled in Chimanimani, where they later established a non-profit learning institution called Nyahode Learning Centre.
“I was born in Cape Town in a family of three boys – that is me and two brothers who are based in the United Kingdom,” he said.
“My parents live here in Zimbabwe, Chimanimani where they run a community learning institution called Nyahode Learning Centre, which combines secondary and technical college. This is where I grew up. I did Grade 1 to 7 at Kwirire Primary School and proceeded to Nyahode Secondary for my secondary education. I did my Advanced Level at Mutare Boys High in Mutare,” said who is very fluent in Shona. The soft-spoken Cde Sacco said his life at school was hellish “due to communication barrier”.
He had serious challenges in learning Shona, especially the Ndau dialect. He however, eloquently mastered it.
“When I was in Grade 3 at Kwirire Primary, they used to take me back to Grade 1 for Shona lessons. I learnt Shona the hard way because vanhu vemusikanzwa would teach me vulgar words. I would innocently say something and it would turn out to be vulgar. But I caught up very quickly,” he said. Cde Sacco did Shona up to Ordinary Level and attained grade B.After school he worked at his parents’ learning centre in Chimanimani. He later left to start his saw milling business.
It was during then that he met the love of his life Mercy Vhiki, a granddaughter to the late Chief Benjamin Muusha.
The couple was blessed with four daughters. The eldest is doing Form 2.
Cde Sacco (40) started his music career at Nyahode High School where he was part of the school choir. He took up music seriously together with his Radiation Band when they competed in the United Nations Development Programme talent search competition dubbed Artistes Against Poverty.
He hogged limelight between 1999 and 2000 when he performed at zanu-pf campaign rallies and penned a land reform jingle. He has three albums under his belt.“I stopped music because of pressure, politics, work and so forth,” he said. Cde Sacco and his family are bona fide members of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), one of the biggest locally initiated churches in the country led by Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi. He is the ZCC branch co-coordinator in Chimanimani.
Cde Sacco joined zanu-pf from the cell level and rose through the ranks to become a member of the national youth league executive and Central Committee.
“Politics flows in our blood veins. My father was an active member of the ANC and fought against apartheid. So it is from that background that I found myself into politics. When my family came here, it was welcomed by zanu-pf since the country had just attained independence.
I started my political career in 1999 when I joined the Zanu PF cell and rose through the ranks into the district co-ordinating committee (DCC), national youth league and Central Committee, a position I currently hold. My political career spans 18 years,” he said. Cde Sacco contested in 2013 Zanu PF primary elections and lost to Dr Samuel Undenge. He claimed to have won the 2013 intra-party contest and accused Dr Undenge and cronies of electoral fraud.
“I stood in the 2013 primary elections. I won against Dr Undenge, but my votes were stolen. Dr Undenge and (Mr) Didymus Mutasa switched the results. They took my results and gave to Dr Undenge and gave me his. Vakachinja maresults. It was literally as blatant as that. They did not allow me to stand,” he said.
He said he campaigned for Dr Undenge despite the electoral fraud. Cde Sacco took part in the just ended Zanu PF primaries and won resoundingly.
He amassed 5 760 votes, which were the highest in the province, and fourth in the country.
Cde Sacco is working with losing candidates and is optimistic about his chances of winning the vacant Chimanimani East seat.