COMMENT: Elect people with networks that work

The Chronicle

IN a big development for the biggest suburb in Bulawayo, construction of a 60-bed hospital has started.

Cowdray Park has 16 000 houses but the tens of thousands of people there are served by a makeshift clinic.

There is no way a makeshift facility can adequately serve such a large population.  This suggests that some people could be suffering with no medical attention.  Also, this suggests that some residents are having to travel to other suburbs or into the city centre, almost 18km away, to access health services.

Cowdray Park also does not have a police station and a new rapidly expanding section of the suburb has no secondary school.

But our sister paper, Sunday News reported yesterday that the foundation of the health facility has already been built. Furthermore, the Government has committed to building a police station there by the end of the year.

Construction of a primary school, where work stalled at some point, has resumed thanks to devolution funds.  The school has enrolled kids from Grade One to Six and work is continuing.

This is great work that will make the suburb a complete one, especially one of its size.

Much of this work is arguably down to the local councillor, Cde Kidwell Mujuru.  Elected in March 2019, Cde Mujuru has, in three years, achieved what most of his colleagues in council have failed to do in 20 years.

“Cowdray Park, with its size and population, has no hospital, instead there is a makeshift clinic,” he told Sunday News.

“I am happy to say that we are building a very big hospital with 60 beds at Empompini where all the initial works are set to commence by end of April. I really nagged Professor Mthuli Ncube (Minister of Finance and Economic Development).

I used to drive every month to Harare until he gave in and availed funds for the construction of this hospital . . . We also do not have a fixed police station save for two makeshift police posts.

The Government has also promised that before the end of the year we will be having a full-fledged police station. Further, in the Hlalani Kuhle area there is no secondary school.  As the ward councillor, I have constantly nagged the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education pointing out this anomaly and they have already committed to constructing a secondary school in that area.”

He added that building of Vulindlela Primary School is advancing using devolution funding.

What we are witnessing Cde Mujuru do in Cowdray Park is what a people’s representative must do. Instead of just collecting sitting allowances and hogging the limelight as councillor, a people’s representative must deliver; must work to address the needs of the people who elected them into office.

A people’s representative is one who knows which door to knock on for support to make things happen. A people’s leader is one who is networked.

Soon, Cowdray Park will be a new suburb, new in the sense that it will have infrastructure that hadn’t been built in decades yet there were people elected to serve Ward 28.

We are heading for by-elections in the city on March 26. A number of parties are contesting, including of course Zanu-PF, MDC Alliance and the recently formed Citizens Coalition for Change. There are nine local authority vacancies in Bulawayo that will be filled on that day. There are some parliamentary by-elections in the city we well.

It is important for the electorate to elect people who work for them like Cde Mujuru.  It is important for the people to elect people who have strong networks that work and deliver for them.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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