NORTON legislator Mr Temba Mliswa said he is proud of the 18 children he has fathered with more than 10 women, while revealing that he pays US$25 000 each term for their school fees.
The firebrand legislator, who remains a bachelor, said he plans to continue bearing children but will eventually settle down when the right time comes.
Mr Mliswa was speaking after being in the news last week following a fallout in his relationship with Australia-based Ms Susan Mutami who exposed controversial details on their estranged union.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Mail, Mr Mliswa chose not to dwell much on the fallout, saying he was preparing to take legal action against some of the allegations that Ms Mutami made against him.
“The truth will come out and I am going to sue her. I am not going to sue because I need the money, I am going to take legal action not for myself but to protect people that were affected by the allegations such as the people of Norton, the Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy (YARD) think tank that looks up to me and my family.”
Quizzed about his children, he said: “Yes I have 18 children, and I love them very much. I am proud of them and I take very good care of them. Each term, I pay school fees of about US$25 000 because all my children attend top schools. I have 13 girls and 5 boys,” he said.
He said he will continue fathering children “to grow the clan” as his five siblings “are lazy to make children because they have just two or so”.
“We are six in our family but my brothers and sisters have just one or two children. So it is my duty to grow the clan. Our family is blessed. We have two legislators in Parliament and I count that as a blessing from God to my family.”
Asked if the plentiful children do not defile social norms, Mliswa said he had agreed not to get married to the women that he has fathered children with.
“People are different. I mostly date mature women, who are professionals and know what they want. Most of them come to an understanding with me just to have children and not get married. I have seen many marriages failing and I see a lot of cheating happening in marriages, so the marriage institution is not as sacrosanct as many people want to claim. What most people do not know is that in addition to my 18 children I take care of 600 other children through the Temba Mliswa foundation. This is in addition to other philanthropic projects that I carry out in my constituency.”
Mr Mliswa denied allegations that he was bisexual. “Can a bisexual have 18 children? Those allegations were made just to tarnish my image.”
He spoke at length about his farming prowess, lauding the Government for the land reform programme, which he says has empowered him “more than anything else”.
He said he has made a lot of money from farming to look after his large family, dismissing claims by Ms Mutami that he was an extortionist.
“I rate Zimbabwe’s land reform programme as one of the best black empowerment initiatives the world has ever witnessed. I am what I am because of farming. This season is going to be a prosperous one for many farmers because of the good rains. At my farm in Karoi, I have put 400 hectares under maize to contribute to the country’s food security.
“At the very minimum, I am expecting a yield of at least 3 000 tonnes. This means I would have played my part in feeding the nation. Today (Thursday) we have started to harvest some green maize crop that we planted here at my house (in Borrowdale).
“I use this house as my research station for agriculture activities. I am proud to say that I have developed my farm better than what the white man did. My involvement in farming includes tobacco, where my company Saltlakes supported over 16 000 farmers, mainly small-scale growers.
“Currently, Saltlakes is leasing over 5 000 hectares for tobacco through the joint venture system that the Government has supported. So for someone to say I am an extortionist with the money I make from my farming ventures is just malice.”
Mr Mliswa’s political career has been a roller coaster ride, at one time he rose to the post of Mashonaland West Zanu PF provincial chairperson, before he was fired from the ruling party in 2013, only to bounce back as an independent candidate and claim the Norton Constituency National Assembly seat.
“I see myself as a man of the people. I am a nationalist at heart, partly because I remain inspired by my father Kripper Peter Mliswa, who is an ex-Zipra combatant. I respect the President. Politics comes second when you love your country. That is why I stood as an independent candidate because I stand with the people.
“Some people say I influence my sister (Mashonaland West Minister for Provincial Affairs, Mary Mliswa), but what they do not know is that she is a hothead on her own. When we are together, we do not talk about politics because she respects my views and I respect hers.” – Sunday Mail