GWERU: Located right in the midst of Mkoba 6 shopping centre, as busy and noisy as it can get, Mkoba residents are set to benefit from the first community library that was built by re-elected Member of Parliament(MP), Amos Chibaya.
Pincered by a betting bar to the left, grocery and butcheries on the other side and directly facing an open market where vendors go about their daily business the library is also in close proximity to other nightclubs surrounding the area.
Residents have expressed mixed feelings over the location of the library, which they say poses several threats to the real educational value that it is supposed to bring to the community.
“The location is not pleasing, why would you want to build a library at a place that is so close to beerhalls and nightclubs. I think there is a danger for kids who try to utilize this library. Just check how close it is to the market and the noise that will be coming from there. However the idea of building a library is top notch and a brilliant one,” said Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) Director, Cornelia Selipiwe.
Some of the Mkoba residents raised concerns over the protection of the children who they said have no business mingling around nightclubs trying to access library services.
“As a mother, I don’t feel comfortable with the location of the library. How will our children study, worse even for the girl child, considering that this library is surrounded by nightclubs?” said Regina Msipa.
Be that as it may, Chibaya was quick to dismiss the concerns and said the library is set to be officially opened in July when he is expected to hand over the library to Gweru City Council.
“I assure the community that they will have a peaceful reading environment since the library was built with a soundproof mechanism. The library project is now long overdue, but if all goes well by the end of July we will hand over the library to the City council after the official opening,” said the MP.
On various occasions, the MP has been accused of having nothing to show for Mkoba except the library which has taken close to a decade to complete.
Chibaya, who has been Mkoba MP since 2003 daunted the idea of a library in 2011 which he pegged at USD 65 000, but only started the library project through a Community Development Fund (CDF) amounting to USD 50 000 in 2013.
“There is no transparency and accountability on CDF funds that MPs receive from Parliament and therefore we cannot account for why it took so long for the project to be finished. The other thing is the MP is all over, he wants to do a lot of projects at the same time and is not using a targeted approach,” further noted the GRRA Director.
In an interview, Chibaya highlighted that he used other sources of funds to complete the library apart from the CDF funds.
“On all the final touches of the library, I had to use other sources of income since the CDF funds were not sufficient for the completion of the library,” said Chibaya.
So far the library consists of 20 desktops and a wide range of literature.
The library is anticipated to be a shot in the arm for local students and residents, some of whom could not afford to travel and use the Gweru Memorial Library which was built during the colonial era in 1898 and is located along 8th street in town.