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Constituency Spotlight

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Bulawayo east constituency — MP Thabitha Khumalo
The constituency covers ward three and four, which includes Paddonhurst, Parklands, Mahatshula, Queenspark East, Glengarry, Ilanda, Suburbs, Killarney, Romney Park, Sunnyside, Kumalo, Northlea, Burnside, Ascot, Willsgrove, Lochview, Riverside, Manningdale, Sunninghill, Waterford, part of Matsheumhlope, part of Hillside, Selbourne Park.

In this constituency most people said they only knew their MP by name but were happy that she was doing what they expected from her.

What people in the Constituency said about their MP
Harry Berman a Queenspark East resident said Khumalo was eager to develop the community as she had helped repair roads.

Ivan Johnson said Khumalo had donated stationery to Thomas Rudland Primary school, a move that would enhance children’s education.

Mike Cummings said Khumalo had assisted the community in removing the “rubble from houses that had been destroyed by fire in our community, this shows how concerned she is about us and our safety”.
Edwell Zihuba said: “Our MP has tried her best. But we wish that she may continue repairing the roads because even though she has filled the potholes, they continue to increase and street lighting needs to be revamped as well.”

Edith Tshabalala said they were also hoping Khumalo would create job opportunities for youths in order to prevent them from engaging in crime and loitering.

Paddonhurst residents who chose to withhold their names said they were aware Khumalo was their MP.

One of them said “she has done a lot towards the empowerment of women, she often talks to women on different issues in order to empower them, raising awareness so that they are not left out, and the street lighting is quite OK.”

Another resident said: “The roads are often refurbished but we are not sure who exactly is fixing them, potholes are being filled but we do not know who is doing it we only assume that it is our MP.”

Residents in Glengarry said nothing had been done for them since the last election.

A resident, who identified himself as Simba, said “Khumalo only comes here to drop off fliers and meetings are only done once after a long time, she has done nothing that I know of.”

Isaac Newton said Khumalo would gain their support if she found ways of assisting youths.

Residents in Ascot, Ilanda, Khumalo, and Parklands said they did not know who their MP was and were not aware of any development meetings in the constituency.

Response by the MP

Khumalo said she could not create employment because her duty as an MP was to provide oversight representation in the legislature.

“The problem is that we have been turned into social institutions, but if we can talk with the people, they may begin to understand what our duties are.

“The challenges that I have are that I am working with Wards Three and and Ward Four, which are not co-operative.

“What happens is that I find myself having to deal with domestic workers and gardeners who are not the landlords and thus do not stay in the area while in Ward Three there are some suburbs whose residents come for meetings while others do not .

“Another challenge is that there are no constituency offices.

“Last week I held a meeting at Selbourne Park and many people attended but how do we go forward when those who attend are not the people who permanently live there?

“It is difficult to bring development to the people when you do not know what they want.

“If there was a way we could use the internet or develop a website and send SMSes (short text messages) to call meetings and have constituency offices too.”

Mkoba constituency – MP, Amos Chibaya (MDC-T)

This is a populous constituency as Mkoba is the largest residential area in Gweru with 18 wards. All interviewed residents in this constituency said they knew their MP who is in his second term.

What people said about their MP
David Davirai, a small scale entrepreneur at Mkoba 6 Shopping Centre but residing in Mkoba 7 said:“I know this man very well.

“He is notorious for being always arrested and is often in the papers for his court cases.

“But I see he has not done much developmental initiatives although I am told he is the one initiating the construction of a library here.

“But this noisy place is not ideal for a library.”
Siphiwe Mpofu, a Mkoba 16 resident: “I understand the MP was recently arrested for violence and I got to know it through the Press.

“He should lead by example as a leader and be more disciplined.

Brighton Chakadya from Mkoba 18 who is a fuel attendant at a service station in the Central Business District said: “The MP has not done much in Mkoba.

“There are a lot of things that need immediate attention like roads and some places have gone for years without water.”

Majory Sibanda a street vendor in Mkoba 20 said: “The MP should help us vendors and other women to improve our projects.

“I am not a skilled worker so my strength is in selling these vegetables but I need to grow and have my own shop. That is my dream.”

Samanyanga of Mkoba 9 had this to say: “We do not have recreational areas in Mkoba anymore.

“Look, all the free land in Mkoba has been turned into vegetable gardens and I wonder what we will do when we need to construct a stadium or any sporting facilities.

“The MP should do something about this.”
Response by the MP

“I am building a big library at Mkoba 6 Shopping Centre and it is my brainchild.

“Mkoba was built in 1964 and up to now there is no community library and you can imagine a large place like this without even a single library.

“There are also other projects where I help women sell paraffin and second-hand clothes that come in large bales.

“I also help women with sewing projects. I am paying school fees for 30 orphans.

“The problem with these projects is that there are little resources available.

“For example the library is now at roofing level and I am busy sourcing funds, which is a strenuous thing. But I believe I will win this battle to develop my constituency.”

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