“There are a lot of professional people with the qualifications to run central and local government efficiently. But they are afraid to take the risks associated with elections in Zimbabwe. It takes courage to participate in elections,” says Dr Paul Malaba, ward 4 councillor for the MDC led by Welshman Ncube.He urged professionals to participate fully in local government issues.
A lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology, Malaba is one of the few degreed councillors in the country. His ward mainly encompasses low density suburbs such as Waterford, Selborne Park, River side, Lockview Woodlands and Sunninghill. Most of his projects target poor and vulnerable residents in the area, which borders the peri- urban Umguza rural district council.
“There is no clinic in my ward – and people have to travel 13 km to the nearest in town.I have secured a piece of land opposite Leeside shopping centre where a clinic will be constructed,” said Malaba in a recent interview.
“I am currently organising fund raising activities for the clinic, including a golf tournament. We are also approaching potential donors for assistance,” he added. Malaba has also successfully negotiated for a 2, 4 hectare piece of land in the ward, which will be subdivided for urban agriculture.
“We will identify vulnerable families and allocate plots. We are raising funds to rehabilitate some of the boreholes on the property,” he said.
As with most areas in Zimbabwe, there is high unemployment. Whenever possible, Malaba tries to find work for them. Some youths were recently hired to clear blocked drains. One of them, Thomas Takaza said he was very grateful for the job.
“We wish the councillor could arrange more work for us. We also need money to start our own projects like poultry and piggery,” he said.
Another resident, Mduduzi Ncube appealed to the councillor to assist in the resuscitation of recreational facilities such as soccer playing grounds.
“We also want more government schools in the ward, as there are too many expensive private schools.Some pupils have to travel more than 20 km to attend affordable schools,” said Ncube. At the next elections Malaba plans to stand against MP Tabitha Khumalo of the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
“My party has a very good working relationship with Khumalo. She and I were both involved in the distribution of the Constituency Development Fund. We identified deserving cases together and as a result of our close cooperation, we did not encounter transparency problems,” he said.Post published in: News