Kuwadzana constituency is a high-density suburb in the eastern parts of Harare. Most people in the constituency are unemployed and informal traders, who survive on selling different wares. The constituency also experiences perennial portable water shortages.
Problems in the constituency, which the MP, Betty Nhambu-Kaseke (Zanu PF) could highlight in the National Assembly:
lLack of libraries and adequate recreational infrastructure (Local Government ministry)
lWater problems, burst sewers, (Environment and Water, Local Government ministries)
lHigh unemployment rates among the youth (Labour ministry)
lEarly child marriages (Social Welfare ministry)
lHousing shortages (Local Government ministry)
Performance of the MP in the National Assembly
Although the MP, a former model, seems to be popular in the constituency for spearheading different development projects, she is surprisingly one of the mum MPs in Parliament. She has, however, managed to issue her maiden speech in the National Assembly, where she raised very pertinent issues about her constituency such as early child marriages. Nhambu-Kaseke, who also sits in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, needs to find her voice in the House.
What people in Kuwadzana said about their MP
While most people interviewed by NewsDay hailed her for being visible in the constituency, they taunted her as a habitual backbencher during most parliamentary debates.
They said some of her notable achievements have been drilling boreholes in her constituency to address the perennial water problems that Harare continues to grapple with.
Man, aged 35 from Kuwadzana 7
Yes, we know our MP. She mixes well with the community, just like any other ordinary person and sometimes comes here at Holland Shops to listen to what the people are saying, while at the same time giving feedback on where we are, as a community, in terms of development. She has drilled a lot of boreholes for us and I can say we do not suffer any water problems now.
Our problem with her is that she seems to select a specific group of individuals and uses those as an overall representation of the constituency, which is quite problematic, because at the end of the day she needs to accept the views from everyone.
Another problem is the issue of roads, which I believe she is supposed to look into because they are heavily potholed as you can see; especially in Kuwadzana 7 – it is quite bad.
Man aged 30, from Kuwadzana 6
We know our MP, she has organised modelling pageants and this has helped her connect with the people. She has also helped other people with loans and we can never overlook the drilling of boreholes, which has improved water availability significantly.
But, my only issue is that I follow closely debates in Parliament, and it seems she is a backbencher and is not visible at all. She was selected to represent the people and how do you do that when you are just a spectator in Parliament?
Furthermore, we have the issue of drainage in our constituency, of course, council looks at these issues, but as an MP I believe she has an oversight role to play. Right now, it is the rainy season, and what is happening is not good, and water is being blocked everywhere. Overally, though we think she is a promising MP, who still has age on her side and connects well, especially with the young people.
Woman aged 28, Kuwadzana 5
She is still a fairly new MP. We do use some of the boreholes she has drilled. However, this has created problems in that there are some people, who are using political muscle to charge people money to fetch water at these boreholes, and I wonder if she knows what is happening. That issue needs to be addressed.
She does call for meetings, although I have never attended them, but yes, she does come back to the people.
Man, aged 68, Harare ward 38
These people are elected by young voters, who are the majority in our community. We expect that the MP addresses the problem of unemployment. We are old, inactive and no longer interested in politics. On a personal level, I can’t speak of anything she has done and I cannot speak of anything she can do for me because I do not even know her.
Vendor aged 39, Kuwadzana 7
I know Nhambu-Kaseke is our MP, but I have not seen her saying anything in Parliament, to be honest. As you can see this road is so bad, and we expect this to be addressed.
She has a lot of work to do in this community before we can fully recognise her as a successful MP.
I sit in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural And Urban Development and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.
I have firmly presented in Parliament the various challenges that we are facing in my constituency. We have heated debates in our portfolio committees. I have put forward recommendations, which can come in handy in the improvement of service delivery, the repairing of our roads and address the ongoing debates on liquor licences, as you are aware I am from an urban constituency and as such, I make contributions especially in that area.
We have held the Miss Kuwadzana beauty contest as a way of empowering the girl child. Furthermore, we are moving with the models around the communities in the constituency and trying to identify some underprivileged groups within the society and assist orphans with school fees.
We have facilitated the holding of the StarBrite talent search and some youth from my constituency have made it and will participate in the finals.
I have also spearheaded some empowerment projects for women and we do have a financial institution, which is helping these women with their business start-ups. As you have heard, to alleviate water problems, we also assisted with the drilling of boreholes in some areas within the constituency.
The biggest challenge has been the issue of land barons. Of course, as an MP, I have facilitated low-cost housing for residents within my constituency, but these land barons, using the name of the party and without any entitlement to the land whatsoever, have been stealing from our people. With the stance that has been taken by President Emmerson Mnangagwa against such practices, I am positive that one way or the other it shall be dealt with.