Byo Central asks for more

BULAWAYO Central is one of the biggest constituencies in Bulawayo province, as it covers half of Zimbabwe’s second largest city, which includes Burnside, Hillside, Hillcrest, Morningside, Greenhill, Famona, the city centre, Northend, Sourcetown, Queens Park West, Kingsdale, Trenance, Richmond, part of Belmont, an industrial area, and peri-urban areas such as Mvutshwa Farm and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport.

By NIZBERT MOYO

Problems in the constituency that the Bulawayo Central MP, Dorcas Sibanda (MDC-T) could highlight in Parliament are:

 Cash shortages (Finance minister)

 Public inconvenience caused by the police at shops and road blocks (Home Affairs minister)

 Closure of industries in Bulawayo (Industry minister)

 Stagnation in infrastructural growth in Bulawayo (leader of government business)

MP’s performance in Parliament

Sibanda is a vocal MP in Parliament and she is also the main opposition MDC-T deputy chief whip. She has shown a lot of interest on raising issues such as marginalisation of Bulawayo. She has raised several questions in the House and during committee sittings about matters on unfair employment practices, where she feels that Matabeleland has suffered marginalisation to the extent that people from other provinces are ones that get top jobs.

Another issue that she has spoken very passionately about is of enrolment to universities, where she has always pointed out in Parliament that children from other regions other than Matabeleland get preference in terms of places at universities in Matabeleland. Sibanda has also shown passion in contributing to debate about women’s rights and domestic violence.

She sits on the Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services Portfolio Committee, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Finance and Economic Planning Parliamentary Portfolio committees.

What people of Bulawayo Central said about their MP

Hlabathi Khumalo from Cabatsha Village in Mvutshwa Farm

Sibanda is a hard working woman. Mvutshwa Farm has no water, but she has represented us as an MP to make sure that we get water supplies from Bulawayo City Council twice a week through bowsers. The MP also donated barbed wire to fence our fields and some maize seed. She donated two wheelbarrows to use in the village, however, they were very few, as our village is very big.

Aleck Mazimisa

I know the MP. When I was part of the school development committee member at Henry Low Primary School, she donated furniture and plumbing equipment for toilets renovations.

Georgina Mkozho

The MP has done a lot for the people of her constituency, she is a hard worker. She assisted Newsmansford Primary School by repairing chairs because there was a serious shortage, which resulted in children learning while sitting on the floor. She also donated furniture to Trenance Primary School and assisted with the refurbishment of the hall, where residents now hold meetings.

Ward 5 councillor Gift Banda

The MP is always available for feedback meetings pertaining to what would have transpired in Parliament. However, at times she is not available because she is a busy MP, who is always away attending to parliamentary business in Harare during the week. I have personally invited Sibanda for meetings, and she does attend whenever she is in Bulawayo. At one of the meetings we discussed the Constituency Development Fund to be disbursed to different constituencies. She told us that the money had not yet been disbursed. What I have noticed is that whenever people are invited for meetings in the constituency, they do not have the enthusiasm to attend. This also happens with council budget consultations.

Jasphat Tumbwi

I last saw the MP some time ago when she was invited by members of the Anglican Church to attend a church service. We once invited her for a residents’ meeting and were disappointed that she did not turn up.

Ward 1 councillor Malandu Ncube

I know the MP and I socialise with her a lot. We work hand in hand in most programmes to ensure she gives back to the community, which voted her into power.

MP’s response

I have a lot to do as my constituency covers half of Bulawayo province. It is the biggest constituency in the province, and some of the areas I represent as MP are peri-urban areas, where there is a lot of poverty, and the roads are inaccessible. The shopping centres are even in bad shape. The challenges I face as MP are that I also cover the city centre, where there are people, who sleep at the banks queuing for money. My constituency also covers part of the industrial area, where there are no longer industries. Most industries have now been turned into churches, and I have raised that issue in Parliament, saying the government needs to look at it and ensure industries are up and running. However, this is a broke government, which does not have even reserve funds in its accounts. The last time I received money from the government was during the inclusive government.

As an MP, I repainted a lot of school classrooms, bought furniture, computers, plumbing equipment and provided water tanks for some schools to cater for our children since I have a passion for them as they are our future leaders. The schools assisted include Henry Low, Robert Tredgold, Trenance, Moray, and Newmansford primary schools. I have also assisted Cabatsha community, which is a peri-urban area. I have also interacted with my constituency and they have called me for feedback meetings. It is a very big constituency, which also covers the white community, where there are no residents’ associations, which makes it difficult to meet them at times. My dream also is that I want to refurbish Ingutsheni Hospital since, in our culture, we take care of those that are ill. I also need to assist refurbish clinics that are situated in the central business district. I also need to interact with workers’ committees of different industries to discuss their challenges. At times, I meet my constituents at meetings and kitchen tea parties. The other challenge is that we were told as MPs, that we will sit as a province in meetings chaired by the Provincial Affairs minister, but that has never
happened.

I feel that I still have energy, and want to continue as MP if people choose me for another term.

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