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Special interest councilors unnecessary- Nyazura community

Special interest councilors unnecessary- Nyazura community

Nyazura community members who attended a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition 'Meet the People Forum' on the 16th of February 2012 lamented the continued appointment of special interest councilors by the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo describing them as unnecessary and a ploy to dilute councils which are dominated by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The "Meet the people forum" was held in Ward 26 Nyazura at Gwagwadza business centre and attended by 93 people (48 males and 35 females). The meeting provided an opportunity for the community to interact with the councilor for Nyazura Ward 26 Councilor Elizabeth Matanhiri and the legislator for Makoni South Honorable Pishai Muchauraya.

Participants also noted that the councilors appointed by Chombo are not representative of the interest groups which they purport to represent. Giving the example of the special interest councilor for the disabled, participants highlighted that he is neither disabled nor does he have a known track record for fighting for the rights and empowerment of the disabled.

The following issues also emerged from the meeting:

  1. The local authority is biased towards councilors belonging to ZANU PF. For example, the earthmoving equipment which was supposed to repair roads has been doing work only in ZANU PF controlled wards.
  2. The institution of traditional leadership has been captured by politicians in the area. The traditional court (dare) which was a highly respected process in the area is now discredited since it has often been used to gather people for political rallies. The residents of ward 26 bemoaned the political party sloganeering that is now the norm at these "dares". They called on the government through the new constitution to ensure that traditional leaders are non partisan.
  3. The agricultural input scheme which was meant to benefit the people in the area has been abused through rampant looting by senior politicians with the little remaining distributed on partisan basis.
  4. The hopes for a free and fair election have been dealt a major blow by the escalation of violence and intimidation by the military and police. Without reforms the people of ward 26 fear that the election will be stolen.
  5. The schools in the area are charging $16 as school fees; $10 of the school fees is going towards teachers' incentive sand $6 towards the development and running of the school. The villagers called on the government to take care of the teachers to ease the burden on the parents; most children in the area have dropped out of school.

At the close of the meeting, Mernard Madziva, a villager from the area said, 'Ndinoda kutenda vanhu ve Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition vatipa mukana wekusangana nevatungamiriri vemudunhu redu uyezve nekutipa dzidzo rekodzero dzedu' (I wish to thank the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition for giving us an opportunity to interact with our constituency leaders and for educating us on our rights).

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