By Brenna Matendere
GWERU city councillors have been favoured by the local authority with fully furnished offices located in their wards, where they will operate from full-time.
It is the first time since independence that councillors in Gweru will have such facilities.
Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe confirmed the development.
“In the past, people in a particular ward wishing to see their councillor would have difficulties. The only place they could see the councillor would be at home. This is so because at Town House, the councillors are only present a few days of the month when there are meetings,” he
“But now with this development, the people of Gweru can now access their councillors conveniently at the offices we have set up in their various wards.”
Makombe, who is also the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe president, said he hoped to cascade the idea to other local authorities in the country.
“It does not cost much to have offices of councillors in their areas because in every ward, there is a council property. It can be a club house, theatre or something. So that is where a room is set aside to establish the office. It means you then need to secure some furniture and then it’s all systems go — residents start interfacing with their councillor on a daily basis,” he said.
In the past, government used to fund the establishment of parliamentary constituency offices for legislators and pay a salary for a personal aide stationed at the facility.
However, due to the economic hardships, the facility was withdrawn.
Cornelia Selipiwe, the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers’ Association director, welcomed the development.
“That is a good move. It was long overdue. We need to have convenient places to meet with our councillors so that we have information on how the city is being run. In the past, you would need to go to Town House just to access minutes of a council meeting,” he said.
“These are some of the simple things made easy by the setting up of the offices not mentioning more serious things such as feedback from council or us giving input on issues of service delivery.”