Local Authority

Gweru women bear the brunt of council poor service delivery


Life for residents in Gweru City is now unbearable, characterized by heaps of uncollected garbage, erratic water supply, a broken sewer reticulation system, poor roads and drainage infrastructure, as well as an absence of street lighting.

These perennial challenges have widened the gender disparity gap, with women bearing the brunt of poor service delivery.

Women spend most of their time searching for water as the local authority continues with a tighter water rationing schedule amid continuous power disruptions at the Gwenhoro pumping station.

Speaking during the interface meeting with women and duty bearers, Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association programs officer, Fadzai Kanyai, said poor service provision has increased the unpaid care work burden on women.

“Women are still lagging behind in terms of participation in matters related to service delivery. They are victims of poor services from the council. Hence, we organized this dialogue with elected officials to provide them with firsthand information about the hardships women face while trying to resolve challenges associated with deplorable services from the local authority,” she said.

“The local authority should prioritize policies and budgets that are gender-sensitive. Similarly, we encourage fellow women to participate in the budget formulation processes, as that is where most financial decisions are made,” added Kanyai.

She bemoaned council for prioritizing their perks at the expense of service provision, adding that the local authority should put the interest of residents first before lining their pockets.

A resident from Ascot high-density suburb, Hellen Hussen, told The Midweek Watch that the deteriorating situation disproportionately affects women, as they are forced to search for water at midnight, making them the biggest victims of poor  services.

“We are forced to fetch water during the wee hours, and this puts women’s lives at risk of muggings or assault. As a woman, I feel betrayed because these persistent challenges of poor service delivery have increased the burden and costs on our families,” she added.

Hussen decried the lack of information from elected councilors and urged the city of progress fathers to regularly engage with stakeholders regarding service delivery.

Spiwe Nzira, from Mtapa, also expressed her frustration with council’s lack of due diligence in their procurement system, noting that millions of dollars are going to waste in purchasing second-hand or substandard equipment.

She highlighted poor governance and lack of transparency in the distribution of trading markets in the city as a cause of concern, urging the city fathers to prioritize women in livelihood projects.

However, Ward 2 councilor Faith Chuma apologized for the erratic services and pleaded with women not to dispose of foreign objects in the sewer system.

She added that council would conduct an “awareness campaign aimed at educating women on waste disposal,” assuring residents that her council is working towards implementing corrective measures to improve service delivery.

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