By Delicious Mathuthu
Twenty four of the 25 councilors from Vungu Rural District Council (RDC) were recently sworn in at the local authority’s Gweru offices with most councilors promising to advance existing and new developmental projects in their respective wards.
Sworn in are 18 of the 19 councilors elected directly from the wards with only ward 14 still vacant following the death of one of the candidates in the run up to the August 23 harmonised elections.Six of the councilors were seconded from the Women’s Quota Proportional Representation. Mbusi Tobias Ndlovu will be representing ward 1 villagers, Elias Mbiba ward 2, Edmore Gangarabwe ward 3, Thomas Machaya ward 4, Parirenyatwa Nyika ward 5, Another Sibanda ward 6, Bhekimpilo Sibanda ward 7, Venencia Magama ward 8 and Salistone Paradza will represent ward 9.Sonny Chitarata will represent ward 10, Justin Mushonga ward 11, Yeukai Paradza ward 12, Norbert Makechi ward 13, Sindani Mpofu 15, MacMillan Bhepe 16, Angelina Muganyi ward 17, Nyaradzo Dapu ward 18 and Nkosana Sibanda will be representing ward 19.
Under the women’s quota proportional representation, Petronella Mpala, Rosemary Murwisi, Clara Ngwenya, Enesta Nhongo, Flata Nyama and Elizabeth Zinja were sworn in.
Councilors who spoke to this publication after taking office bemoaned lack of safe drinking water, bad roads, need for public health facilities and schools. Ward 17 councilor, Angelina Muganyi, told Community Voices Zimbabwe (CVZ) that her major task as a returning councilor is to complete a school project that she started with the assistance of a church, thereafter start another clinic construction project with the assistance of Vungu RDC.
“We started a school at the Sunrise area during my previous term because ward 17 has no school.The nearest school is too far, kids are travelling all the way to Dorset; so there is a school that we are currently building.
Then after the school is complete, from grade 1 to 7, we want to build a clinic because women are travelling to ward 15 and ward 21. So we are looking forward to completing these projects,” Councilor Muganyi said”
She said villagers are at the centre of the school construction with the assistance of the Anglican Church, St Davies.
For the clinic, Councilor Muganyi said villagers are mobilising and utilising local resources like farm bricks and sourcing river sand, while Vungu RDC assists with other resources that need finances.
Another re-elected Councilor from ward 12, Yeukai Paradza, said water will be one of her main focus areas.
“The main challenge that we have is water. The Lord blessed us with the rains but we have a challenge with drinking water. So far I have two sites that I have identified for drilling boreholes to assist villagers.
We are waiting for drill rigs under the Presidential scheme so that we increase the number of boreholes, but so far the two boreholes are not enough because my wish is to have a borehole at every village,” she said.
She added that there is a piped water scheme project that also needs an extra tank to ease the water burden on villagers relying on it
“We also have a tank at the Mabodza piped water scheme, I talked to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) so that they can come and install it and assist with water, because so far we are using one tank. So if we use two tanks the water will be more affordable for the Mabodza community,” Councilor Paradza said.
On roads, she said ward 12 needs serious attention, revealing that some roads were briefly worked on towards the elections but a lot still needs to be done and looking to work with the District Development Fund (DDF) to fix and maintain them.
She said another focus area is a programme to assist one of the schools which had one of its classroom blocks roof blown off and had its walls cracked.
Ward 11 Councilor, Justin Mushonga, told CVZ that dams in the ward need to be desiltated and old boreholes for drinking water cleaned.
“This is my third term as a councilor, there is a lot of developmental issues that need to be addressed. We have a challenge with our dams that supply water to our irrigation schemes and dip tanks. These dams have been affected by siltation.
We also have a challenge with drinking water in our villages or our areas. We want to drill more boreholes and those boreholes that were drilled, some are now more than 40 years and have never been flushed, so those boreholes need to be flushed,” Councilor Mushonga said.
He said roads in his ward are non-existent.
“The other challenge that is everywhere is that of our roads. We no longer have roads, if we say we have roads we will be lying; meaning our roads need to be reconstructed, they need re-gravelling not just scratching with graders,” he said.
Apart from silted dams, there is an irrigation scheme in the ward that needs to be maintained, especially the canals that supply water, and also assist with construction of sheds at the scheme.
“So if we can mobilise cement with assistance from our council or government departments, even the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) that is given to Members of Parliament or devolution funds, will greatly assist our scheme,” he said.
Councilor Mushonga went on to say there are several other challenges such as lack of clinics and schools but the communities are trying to survive within the little available resources they have. Ward 9 Councilor Salistone Paradza said a larger portion of his ward is under resettlement areas and not much infrastructure has been put in place.
Besides roads and need for improved water supply, he said the ward 9 community is maximising on local resources to construct schools, clinics and roads as council has limited resources.
He said there is a school and clinic that are still being developed, which need funding to complete.
“At Riverdale School there are only two blocks and the school staff have no houses. Its not nice to see teachers cramped up in one house and this also affects the pass rate of kids,” he said.
At the clinic, he said there is a challenge of low staff. He said there is only one nurse and her assistants and if there is any activity that she needs to attend, the clinic is left closed due to very limited accommodation as well.
Vungu RDC CEO, Mr Alex Magura said in terms of ensuring development as a council, there is need for team work to improve on service delivery.
“Generally we just expect that we continue to work as a team. The old councilors will come in with the experience and we hope the new councilors will also learn very quickly. Soon we will be going for induction training where they will be given orientation in terms of how councils operate. From there we think we will be good to go,” he said.
He also highlighted that the local authority is currently facing low revenue collection but there is a potential to improve.