ZENGEZA West constituency is in Chitungwiza. It comprises of areas such as Zengeza 2, Zengeza 3, Zengeza 5, and the industrial areas bordering Chikwana and St Marys. A majority of the residents in the constituency are engaged in self-help projects like carpentry, welding, among others. The constituency is one of the areas in Chitungwiza that has a large concentration of land barons, the majority of them linked to the ruling Zanu PF party.
By KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA
Issues that the MP Simon Chidhakwa (MDC-T) can highlight during question and answer sessions in Parliament
Water and sewer problems — (Environment and Water ministry)
Unemployment — (Labour ministry, Industry ministry, Women and Youth ministry)
Housing problems, poor road network — (Local Government ministry)
Land barons, double allocation of stands — (Local Government ministry)
Performance of the MP in Parliament
Chidhakwa has been one of the MPs in Parliament who has been vocal and his presence noticed in the House despite the large numbers of legislators in the National Assembly. He is very active in the Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee and the Lands and Agriculture Committee where he sits. The MP has also asked quite a number of questions to ministers, including raising issues pertaining to the proliferation of land barons particularly in Chitungwiza.
What people in Zengeza West said about their MP
Rudo Mukweshu — Zengeza 5
I know the MP and I have seen him several times doing different activities in the constituency. I think that he is very active. I have seen him helping people at funerals, and I think that he is very approachable. In terms of him being active during Parliament sittings I wouldn’t know, but what I know is that he is always available to help those who approach him. When he gets the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), we just want him to ensure there is enough water and refuse collection bins.
Jonathan Togarepi — Zengeza 3
Yes I know our MP, Chidhakwa but I think he concentrates more on taking care of those constituents that belong to his political party. I feel that he can do more for residents in terms of advocating for a clean environment for Zengeza West because the area is littered with a lot of rubbish to the extent that people in the constituency are scared of contracting cholera. The MP must raise such issues in Parliament.
Nyasha Mutanga — Zengeza 2
I have only seen the MP once after he was elected into office. I feel that he should visit his constituency more often and meet people like myself that are widowed. I have noticed that it is only those people that are close to him who benefit from his projects. Some of the issues we want addressed in the constituency are water problems.
Ngoni Ruwo – Zengeza 2
The only time that he comes near residents is when he goes to the complex where his office is located. I feel that the major problem experienced by the people that Chidhakwa should raise in Parliament is the issue of the bad road network and water problems. We need the MP to speak on our behalf so that we get adequate water because we get supplies once per week.
Delon Masase — Zengeza 3
Yes I know the MP Chidhakwa. However, I am not sure if he is quite an active MP in Parliament because whenever I attend the sessions in the House I hardly see him making any contributions. I have read newspaper articles though that show that the MP has made some contributions and asked questions in Parliament and committees. I wish he could be more active.
Response by the MP
I appreciate that people in the constituency want different issues addressed. However, I have raised most of the issues that they have pointed out in Parliament. I have applied for CDF and will use some of the funds to drill boreholes and get those that are non-functional working. There are also areas that do not have public toilets in the constituency, and to avert cholera I will get them repaired and then hand them over to Chitungwiza Town Council, so that they take care of them.
I did meet member of my constituency to discuss which projects they would like prioritised if we get CDF. Most of them mentioned self-help projects like chicken projects, but Parliament wants projects that are going to benefit the whole community, not just individuals.
As an MP I have contributed to a lot of debate in Parliament, especially on issues of land barons. This affected people in areas such as Nyatsime where a lot of prospective home owners lost money. I have also made contributions pertaining to transport problems in the constituency because it is one of the major problems experienced by the people. Another issue that I raised in the National Assembly was to press the Industry minister to prioritise the resuscitation of Cone Textiles which is in the constituency and used to employ more than 2 000 people.
Using my personal funds, I have also assisted school children by sponsoring prize-giving days, as well as paying fees for excelling students. Although these are not necessarily duties of an MP I have also assisted people during funerals.
I used to call for Parliament feedback meetings once per month, but the main problem I faced was that people were not enthusiastic to attend political meetings. One of the most successful meetings I held last year was on the Nyatsime stands and land barons. The meeting was even highly publicised in the media. I have since developed a strategy of visiting people at their wards.
I definitely want to come back for a second term as MP because I feel that I have performed better than all other MPs that represented this constituency before me.