KAMLOOPS — Dr. Richard Kanyangu has lived outside of Zimbabwe for the last 20 years, but his heart has never left the country he calls home.
As the nation suffers widespread poverty and economic instability, the Kamloops resident is making plans to return, and hopes to become president.
"I've come to this place that I believe that I have to do it," Kanyangu said. "I believe that it is the right thing to do, and I also believe that we are at a very strategic point in the history of Zimbabwe."
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Zimbabwe is currently ruled by 93-year-old Robert Mugabe who became prime minister in 1980 as the country gained independence from British rule.
In 1987 Mugabe became president. Three decades later, Kanyangu says it's time for change.
"If somebody who is from the incumbent government takes over, it's going to be another 15-20 years that we're going to have to live with the same kind of mindset, where people just think about what they can get for themselves, and are not really interested in what people are getting, so if we don't change it now it's going to be difficult," Kanyangu said.
Kanyangu believes his country has the resources it needs to be as wealthy as many western countries. However, he says Zimbabwe has been mismanaged by the current government.
"The people who are in power today, I believe, have come to a place where they are so satisfied, and you can't blame them with the victory that they won during the war, but for goodness sake, we are 36 years past that point. It's a new era."
Kanyangu has lived in Kamloops for the past 10 years, and is a pastor at House of Destiny.
He plans to leave his comfortable life behind in May to bring his campaign to the people of Zimbabwe. His family will not be joining him, as there are concerns over safety.
"In the past, any person who appeared to be gathering enough support against the incumbent has suffered a lot of brutality, and so I don't need to expose my family right away to all of that," Kanyangu said.
However, Kanyangu is willing to face that danger himself for the sake of bringing new hope to his country.
"The discomforts that people have back home are far greater than my comforts," he said. "That's why I'm willing to sacrifice the comforts that I have to go and ensure that I cam improve - if I can improve the lives of 10 people then I am going to be glad that I did something about it."
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