GWERU: This might be the first of its kind in the City of Progress but following several investigations that exposed counter-development under hand deals in council, the ever-growing CommuTalk online community called for an assessment on how councilors have walked the talk to fulfil their campaign promises besides being able to execute their mandate in the City Chambers.
The ratings below show that as much as some councilors have passed the test, CommuTalk was shocked to discover that people are actually regretting ever voting councilors we have today.
The ratings are a result of wide consultations with residents and other stakeholders.
Godfrey Giwa (Ward 6) 95%
Councilor Godfrey Giwa is a good example of a servant leader, a leader who is tipped to fulfill not only his vision but the wishes of those he leads. Leading one of the City’s oldest suburb, Giwa has managed to go out of his way to make sure that a makeshift light is pitched at a Mtapa traffic circle where robberies had been rife. This he managed through using his own resources and went further to draw power from his home. The famous Gafa grounds that had developed to a near bush have also been revived under his stewardship and the development has seen the place attracting youths from all walks of Gweru to come and play social soccer games thereby showing a great need for opening and revamping of recreational spaces; a task council has not taken seriously of late considering the state of Ascot stadium and their intention to seize the sports club. Many in his community have described him as a servant leader who has his community at heart. The major challenge he is however set to address is that of the looming time bomb at the new Mtapa market where vendors are trading their goods without proper sanitation facilities. A follow up to the matter however shows that he has already successfully pleaded with council for the vendors to be moved to the official vending site under construction though the community denied to take credit away from him through connecting him t that issue citing that is an administrative issue.
Martin Chivhoko (Ward 4) 90%
Councilor Martin Chivhoko also chairs the finance committee and for a young and first timer, he is performing very well. Regardless of many saying the clinic initiative in his ward was largely cushioned by Gweru Urban MP Brian Dube, the ability to coordinate such projects for the community that had gone for decades without a clinic speaks volumes to his able leadership. It should also be noted that Chivhoko was the first councilor in the wake of the pandemic to go out of his way and reach out to the elderly. Chivhoko also contributes to council debates and makes himself present wherever representation of his ward is required.
Josiah Makombe (Ward 2) 88%
Patient and calculative, Councilor Josiah Makombe has also done considerably well in his ward amid the huge task he has through his office as the Mayor, Urban Council Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) President and also provincial chairperson of the Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance. Under his leadership, his ward now has a clinic. His community however complains of acute water shortages though they testify to provision of a bowser in given instances. Makombe, amid his busy schedule has managed to attend to most residents’ issues though measuring his successes in terms of city duties endowed upon him through his Mayoral office would be unfair to those who have only a ward to be measured from.
Albert Chirau (Ward 11) 85%
Amid a lot of negative publicity over how he allegedly parceled stands to his infant children, no one can dispute that he speaks sense in council debates. Albert Chirau at one time went further threatened the Mayor that councilors would be forced to confront the him if he does not authoritatively ask management why projects proposed by committees fail to take shape. It was shortly after the heated debate that heads started to roll in council with a lot of corruption cases coming in the open. Organised and professional he is, and his community testify that he knows when and what to talk with boldness, authority and parity. He is also one person whose community largely defends on alleged corruption cases citing that the alleged crimes are meant to tarnish his image on basis that the stands in question were sold in 2013 while they also argue that there is no by-law that restricts infants from acquiring stands. They however criticize the fact of amassing land while hordes of desperate home seekers are stacked in the waiting list for which his community equated to avarice. Amid being a controversial leader, Chirau is spearheading construction of a satellite school in his ward something that has earned him a lot of appreciation from his community.
Cathrine Mhondiwa (Ward 13) 78%
Meet Gweru’s ‘SHE-HERO’ as many refer her. Councilor Cathrine Mhondiwa is the only female councilor in the Gweru chambers and she is not even moved by the masculinity surrounding her. She stands her ground! Mhondiwa is behind the motion that led to the review of how graves are administered following an argument that council was charging a similar cost for the tag and grave at once. This was an issue she brought from her ward of cause but later came to stand for all those who are bereaved and affected by the shoddy rate system. Mhondiwa has also become the darling of the youths in her community through provision of a sporting academy that is meant to identify and uplift talent in her community. Yes, she is involved in sport and does go to the field in her long skirts; a real direct challenge to masculinity isn’t it? Mhondiwa is serving her second term and her community now expects a more confident leader who does away with procastination.
Cleopas Shiri (Ward 6)/ Danny Ndava (Ward 14) 65%
Councilor Cleopas Shiri and Councilor Danny Ndava are equally at par though their voices are not really audible in council debates. Both have championed sewer challenges in their wards that had posed health threats through support from funding partners. Their strengths lie in identifying challenges directly affecting their communities the most and opening doors for external partnerships to solve the challenges. Their communities however feel the two barely go out of their way to addressing challenges put on their respective desks.
Gedion Mugariri (Ward 7)/ Notai Dzika (ward 8)/ Farai Muza (Ward 17) / John Manyundwa (Ward 18) 60%
This category has attracted a large number as their communities argue that they are yet to see their personal efforts in projects implementation. Their argument mainly is that if there is no donor that has brought forward a proposal, nothing is visibly done from the councilors in this category. Councilor Dzika might however be better amongst the four as he engages freely with the community at any level and any platform. Councilor Manyundwa is equally good in engagements but gets emotional quickly especially if his point is continuously facing criticism on social media platforms forgetting that these platforms are meant for constructive criticism. These gentlemen however averagely participate in council regardless of the fact that they are amongst mostly the first wanting to second motions without critically interrogating them.
Doubt Ncube (Ward 3) 50%
Councilor Doubt Ncube is no bad councilor but he lacks confidence. Some say the press stole his confidence through stories he perceived as negative upon his entrance in council, linking him to his background, but rather leaders in the media business said the stories were meant to celebrate his unimaginable elevation which they argued would also be motivation to others. His community testifies that he makes continuous engagements with them and surely, he speaks out his community’s concerns in full council meetings. Credit is however eroded following the fact that most of his proposed projects remain a neighborhood talk without implementation.
Graham Zvidzai (Ward 12) 45%
Councilor Graham Zvidzai is amongst councilors that should pull up their socks. His most notable achievement is construction of a culvert at Mkoba 6 shopping center that facilitates for water drainage and passage for vehicles from the main road to the shopping center. The center however has many other challenges including a ticking time bomb as the toilets have remained unattended if not malfunctional throughout the year. His community had no kind words for him noting that they usually hear from him when calling people to attend budget meetings.
Trust Chineni (Ward 15) 39%
Councilor Trust Chineni looks like a hard worker if one is to trace his presence and contributions in council chambers. His community however say they have nothing to show for in the ground delivered through his efforts as a leader, something that surprised this researcher knowing his strong arguments that are pro-community and presence at important decision-making meetings. A benefit of the doubt can however be awarded to him considering the fact that he has been unwell for a while and has however managed to resume his municipal tasks amid the recurring challenge.
Tawanda Magidi (Ward 16)/ Charles Chikozho (Ward 10) 25%
But where is councilor Charles Chikozho. What happened to him. He seemed so energetic during his reign as Gweru Mayor and the last I saw the energy is when he lost the Mayoral re-election bid to Councilor Josiah Makombe. I think he has been largely affected by the opposition factional fights as political circles allege that he still yearns to occupy the mayoral sit through pushing for Mayor Makombe’s recall. Surely if someone is concentrating in political issues and forgetting those he represents, no one will have kind words for them. A lot of improvement is surely needed. Councilor Magidi is just too quiet. This reporter struggled to find anything worth mentioning as residents seem not to know much about their councillor. Maybe it was because residents were ignorant or councillor Magidi should increase his visibility in the ward. What equates him to the former is that he also has nothing tangible to show that he is representing a community that trusted him through the ballot.
Edson Kurebgaseka (Ward 9) 15%
Councilor Edson Kurebgaseka is a passionate old man but just fails to deliver. Is it because of age or is he ill-advised? You will never understand. However, his community say he is neither here nor there as on the ground he will say he can represent you and when he gets to the authorities he does otherwise. One classical example given to this researcher dates back to water challenges in his respective community where he failed to stand on their side following the detention of some women for seeking water from a police camp. His community also say water is readily available at his home regardless of the fact his ward may go for months without water a characteristic they equated to self-interest than public representation.
Hamutendi Kombayi (Ward 1) 3%
Kombayi just doesn’t want to be a responsible leader and anyone who knows his episodes and contributions in the days he attended council meetings would agree with me. His community is not even impressed by his leadership and they say they have even engaged the Mayor to ask if they could at least have him replaced before his tenure expires. The only notable engagements he did since re-election was hosting a celebration party and travelling to Gutu to assist and pay his last respects to his longtime friend and campaign manager Joshua ‘Chidhoma’ Rufasha who died in a tragic accident recently. His engagements are not even professional as he is one character who can send voice notes singing revolutionary songs at a time the community would be asking serious questions. His only merit remains ability to convince people to vote for him; an almost impossible task now in the absence of Chidhoma (MHSRIP)