Unemployment, child marriages stalk Mufakose youth

MAILMASTER Subject: malawi On 2014-01-30, at 1:00 PM, Jennifer Yang wrote: Mary Anderson lives in Mweneya, a village in southern Malawi, and already has two children and two ex-husbands at the age of 20. Malawi is one of the worst countries in the world for child marriages and an average of one in two Malawian girls marry by their 18th birthday. Jennifer Yang/Toronto Star photo.JPG

Mufakose is one of the oldest suburbs of Harare’s high-density areas. It is a densely-populated area with mostly very old houses.

The Mufakose constituency legislator is Paurina Mpariwa (MDC-T), and she has been MP for the constituency for three terms now.

Mufakose has a lot of youths who are unemployed and aimlessly wander the streets. As a result most of the youths in Mufakose resort to drug and substance abuse, as well as engaging in gambling at a very young age.

Some of the problems in the constituency include early child marriages affecting the girl child. Most of the people who reside in the area are aliens and as a result, they are not eligible to vote.

Issues from the constituency that Mpariwa can raise during debate or as oral or written questions

l Burst sewer pipes (Local Government, Urban and Rural Development)

l Dilapidated road infrastructure (Transport and Infrastructure Development)

l Youth unemployment (Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment ministry)

l Poverty (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry)

l Drug abuse by the youths (Health and Child Welfare, and Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment ministries)

l Child marriages (Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development)

l Disenfranchisement of people born in Zimbabwe by parents of foreign descent (aliens) — (Justice ministry)

Mpariwa is a very vocal legislator and has shown interest in raising questions or debating issues to do with labour, social

services and corruption.

She has raised different issues as motions, or questions to the Executive in Parliament since she became MP for Mufakose in 2000.

Mpariwa also chairs one of the key Parliamentary Portfolio Committees in the National Assembly — the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) — which is a post-audit committee and has over the years revealed a lot of graft in State enterprises and parastatals.

Asked to comment on whether she has been fairly representing her constituency in debates and questions to ministers in Parliament, Mpariwa responded:

“I have raised issues to do with people classified as ‘aliens’ who did not vote in 2013, as well as social welfare issues, as
Mufakose has very high unemployment rates. Other problems in my constituency which I have highlighted during debates in Parliament include drug abuse by youths, the high rate of child marriages, as well as water and electricity problems.

What people in Mufakose said about Mpariwa

William Kamanga (Ward 35)

I know the MP, but we want her to help us with creating jobs for us. As youths we are now hopeless and everything we try to do is not working. We are vendors and yet we are youths that have university degrees. Those are issues we want her to highlight during debates, because some youths in the constituency are now into gambling.

Edward Musakwa (Ward 35)

The MP must fight for us to get better service delivery like water because the pipes are now old and rusty. If she can work with councillors to ensure that the water systems are repaired. Sometimes if we go and report, they do not come in time, but still their bills never change.

Tafadzwa Maponga (Ward 35)

Our MP is Mpariwa, but we don’t even see what she is doing in the constituency. We know she speaks in Parliament, but we only see her campaigning when it is election time. I personally don’t know her interventions; and have never seen her. She should come here and hear our concerns because we are the ones who voted for her. We want her to partner with the councillors to sort out our roads and water problems.

Michael Muzivi (Ward 34)

In terms of health, Mpariwa needs to raise questions in Parliament on when the service will be improved. The service at clinics is poor and nurses are not motivated and whenever patients are diagnosed they are ordered to go and buy medication at pharmacies when they do not have money.

Esther Samanga (Ward 34)

My wish is that our MP advocates for the reduction of school fees in Parliament. The constituency is made up of poor people, most of whom cannot raise money for the education of their children.

Desmond Makotsa (Ward 36)

I have seen the MP on television raising issues to do with labour. She must continue raising issues to do with resuscitation of industries because there is high unemployment, and rentals and food prices are going up.

Tinashe Makotsa (Ward 36)

There are a lot of people with different talents in this suburb, but they are not receiving adequate and necessary support from people like the MP. We have youths who are good at football, singing, dancing and karate. We would like Mpariwa to partner with the Sport and Recreation ministry to support people with different talents.

Mupariwa’s response

I have done a lot of programmes for women and youths, and the elderly. The programmes include food distribution, distributing wheelchairs to people living with disabilities, clothes, peanut butter, and soap. As MP for Mufakose, I have initiated sewing projects, and donated computers and furniture.

I have also drilled boreholes for the community to access clean and safe water. We have two football and two netball teams.
In some of these projects, I used the Constituency Development Funds (CDF). For other projects that I did for schools, I had to get my family, friends and other well-wishers to assist.

I feel I have done well and will be contesting in 2018 because I still have unfinished business. We used to have a constituency office, but it was temporarily closed due to lack of resources.