By Delicious Mathuthu
Twenty three Gweru City Councillors were on Friday (08/09/2023) sworn into office in the presence of hundreds of residents and stakeholders at the Mayor’s Parlour, Townhouse.
All Councilors are from the main opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) save for one women’s quota proportional representation Councillor from ZANU PF.Nine of these are female, four from the ward elections and five from the newly introduced women’s quota proportional representation.
Mercy Mangwanya from ward 1, Faith Chuma ward 2, Girley Zvidzai who is wife to former Local Government Deputy Minister Sesel Zvidzai representing ward 3 and Nyaradzo Madzikura from ward 9 were elected directly from the wards while Siphiwe Kundiona, Miriam Magaya, Ronah Masocha, Olivia Chakauya and Fortunate Mlambo were sworn in on the women’s quota ticket.
Male Councilors include returning Councillors Martin Chivhoko from ward 4 and Danny Ndava from ward 14. Aaron Mumvana will represent ward 5, Lovemore Choto ward 6, Hlupeko Marufu ward 7, Jackous Manyanga ward 8, Admire Paradza ward 10, Kumirai Rutsvara ward 11, former Gweru Mayor (2008-2012) Tedious Chimombe representing ward 12, Augustine Mutusva Ward 13, Norest Dzivakwe Ward 15, Phillemon Mawere ward 16, Prosperity Chikwira ward 17 and William Mazango representing ward 18.
In exclusive interviews with Community Voices Zimbabwe (CVZ), the newly appointed Councillors said their priority areas include improving water supply, public safety, proper waste management and a citizen centred decision making governance approach.
“Our approach this time is that of servant leadership. We don’t want to promise people that we want to do this for them but want to take issues from the residents because they are the ones who know exactly what they want and the priority of their issues.
“You will realise that this time around there will be wide consultations and no decision will be made without consulting residents,” Councilor Dzivakwe said. In-terms of service delivery, he said improved water supply and refuse management are some of the top priorities from his ward as he takes office.
“In as far as my ward is concerned we have the issue of garbage, litter; we need to prioritise that. Litter is being thrown everywhere and some now encroaching people’s houses and tuck-shops; so that is one of the priorities.
“Another issue is water; we know we have water challenges. Water is being rationed, so we are saying those days we allocate people water they should get it and they should not get it at midnight because just a few will be able to access it.
“At the same time now, we will try to increase pumping capacity so that rationing days reduce,” Councilor Dzivakwe said.
He also said added that he will be non-political in harvesting ideas from ward residents and will be available to work with any resident round the clock.
Councilor Zvidzai reiterated the need to mitigate against water shortages and poor refuse management, adding that public safety is also another key priority.
“People from ward 3 expressed confidence in me, and my main business or agenda in council is to improve service delivery. We are having major problems with water supply, people are suffering because of water so we hope that, we, as the new incoming council we are going to push wherever the problem is. Issue of public safety, our roads, street lighting. We last had street lights working in 2008 if I am not mistaken, especially in my area up to today.
“We have things like the need for sinking boreholes in strategic places, as a temporary measure just to help people with water challenges, so that people have access to water but ideally what we want is running (tape) water,” she said.
Councilor Zvidzai said women are the hardest hit when it comes to water challenges, speaking from experience as well.
Ward 18 Councilor, William Mazango, expressed similar sentiments as other councilors improved basic service delivery like roads, water and refuse but adding that their is need to have a motivated workforce at Gweru City Council, having diverse revenue streams and prioritising local Zimbabwean companies in tendering processes. We are going with our President Chamisa’s vision of smart cities, so that is one of our key guidelines.
“To improve service delivery we are also going to prioritise council workers so that they do not sabotage council and ensure that they get salaries that correspond to the amount of work they do. We need to resuscitate council enterprises so that council gets many revenue streams to fulfil service delivery obligations.
“We will try to maximise on locally available resources and not over rely on foreign based people like the issue of traffic lights, as we speak the whole central business district has no traffic lights and that is what we want to avoid,” he said.
On politicking which rocked the last council leading to differences between councillors themselves, as well as between councillors and management, Councillor Mazango said dialogue and proper engagement are key.
“The only way to avoid wars is engagement; we need to talk over things. Also, because we are the policy makers and management are the implementers we will pass policies that are easily understandable so that they implement those things rationally, not acting like we want to fix each other, the ultimate goal here being good service delivery towards rate payers and residents,” he said
Councillor Mazango also said they will try to reduce unnecessary expenditures and cut out on things like taking trips to Victoria Falls to fix Gweru problems.