Local Authority

MCC female reps a joke– residents

Female residence in Masvingo Urban have accused female councillors especially those who got in council through proportional representation of forgetting why they were in council.

This came out after all the four female councillors at Masvingo City Council failed to show up at a meeting organised by Wezhira Community Radio Station at Yeukai Presbyterian Church on March 13, 2024 to discuss issues to do with women and service delivery in Masvingo.Female residence in Masvingo Urban have accused female councillors especially those who got in council through proportional representation of forgetting why they were in council.

This came out after all the four female councillors at Masvingo City Council failed to show up at a meeting organised by Wezhira Community Radio Station at Yeukai Presbyterian Church on March 13, 2024 to discuss issues to do with women and service delivery in Masvingo.

It was said they all gave excuses that they were committed somewhere else, sparking anger among female residents who said since they were seconded to council after the August 2023 elections, no female councillor had held a feedback meeting with women to hear their concerns about service delivery.

One resident Letwin Musarurwa of ward 1 said she did not understand what the female councillors were doing in council where they are always busy if they do not know what challenges female residents were facing.

“Councillors should be busy in communities not in council like these female councillors are doing, they claim to be always busy in council not paying attention to critical issues that are affecting us as women.

“Who exactly are these councillors representing in the council and whose interests are they serving when they don’t come to us to ask and listen to what is affecting us as women? Development does not come from the council meetings, and I wonder what exactly they are reporting each month in council if they do not know our problems,” said Musarurwa.

Anna Chakanyuka said as women they were happy when the women’s quota system was introduced in councils thinking that the councillors will carry their concerns to council but they were angry that those who should be representing them were not doing so.

“As women we are very angry that those we voted for and those that made it through women’s quota to represent us are not doing so. They have totally forgotten us and all they say is they are busy, with what?” said Chakanyuka.

Shamiso Munyenye said when they saw the number of women increasing in council they were happy that their grievances were finally going to be heard but things have actually become worse.

“When we saw the number of women in council increasing, we were very happy that our grievances as women will now be heard and taken care of but things have gotten worse especially for us vendors.

“We had hoped that as female councillors thy were going to tailor and lobby for policies that allows us women especially vendors to get places where we can sell our goods in an orderly manner taking into consideration that its risky for women to be running around evading police but we are still running every day and are still struggling to make ends meet,” said Munyenye.

Women’s Action Group gender focal person Joyce Mhungu said female councillors were supposed go back to communities and interact with women so that they get their issues then go back with them to council.

“Female councillors especially the PR have a responsibility to come back to people after being sworn in council, they need to introduce themselves to the communities so that women appreciate their representation in the council.

“It’s almost half a year since these female councillors started their duties in council but most women do not even know them yet women are the ones facing more challenges that need to be deliberated in council.

“These female councillors should also take into consideration other organisations’ efforts to bring them together with communities so that they can interact closely with women but they are giving excuses every time and again saying they are busy.

“Most women are now confused they now don’t understand what is the role of these councillors, is their role to be always be busy or its to represent women in council,” said Mhungu.

Masvingo Women’s Forum Chairperson Sungano Zvarebgwanashe urged female councillors to organise events like what Wezhira Community Radio Station was doing to bring women together, interact with them and hear their challenges then take them back to council.

“Masvingo female councillors should take initiatives like these to bring women together and hear their challenges so that they can take issues affecting women back to council and work towards improving the livelihoods of women,” said Zvarebgwanashe.

Contacted for comment PR Councillor Esther Zishiri said it was difficult for them to conduct dialogue meetings with women because most of them attend depending on the party the councillor who call them belongs to.

“We are going to try and organise meetings through council to have interactive dialogues with women because we are facing some challenges in organising and conducting these dialogue meetings because people them will not show up because they usually look at who is calling and which party do they belong to,” Zishiri said.

Ward 1 councillor Sabina Chikwangwani said she had heard their need for feedback meetings with female residents and will organise it in future.

“I have heard the concerns and I am going to see what I can do,” said Chikwangwani.

Two other councillors who made it through the quota system, Sharon Marombedze and Alaika Time failed to comment on the issue.

Marombedze said she could not comment while Time said she was in the rural areas attending to a sick relative.

“I am in the rural areas attending to a sick relative so I cannot comment on that, you can get in touch with other councillors,” Time said.

On her part Marombedze said she could not comment because she had nothing to say at the time, saying she did not attend the said meeting because Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) usually do not invite Zanu PF councillors so the CCC councillors were better positioned to comment on the matter.

“NGOs do not invite Zanu PF councillors so you may ask CCC councillors. I have nothing more to comment,” said Marombedze.

Masvingo City Council has four female councillors out of 13 councillors with Zishiri, Time and Chikwangwani from opposition whilst Marombedze is from ruling party Zanu PF.

Ward 8 CCC Councillor Richard Musekiwa dispelled allegations that the female councillors especially PR could not go into wards to address women because the ward councillors would feel threatened.

He said they were free to do meetings with women as long as they notified the sitting councillor and where necessary they can go together.

“We were told during orientation that we are all equal councillors so if they want to have a meeting in my ward or any other ward they are free to do so. They should just notify me so that even if I am asked by other authorities I will be able to tell them that there is a meeting of that sort.

“Sometimes depending on the programme we can even go together we don’t have any problem with that. We are here to serve people so even if councillor Marombedze of Zanu PF wants to meet people in my ward she is free to do so because we are all councillors.

Where possible we can even go together because that is our duty as councillors, I encourage the female councillors to meet women so that when we get to council we will then pass resolutions that are informed from our people,” said Musekiwa.

Tellzim

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