Councilors join hands across political divide

Considering the persecution that Jacob Muchararadza (34), the Councilor for Ward 17 in Bikita, has endured he is remarkably cheerful.

Jacob Muchararadza: we develop more united than divided.
Jacob Muchararadza: we develop more united than divided.

Passionate about fostering unity and development, he has put the physical and emotional scars behind him and is fully focused on a prosperous future whereby everyone enjoys the full rights of being a free citizen in a democratic Zimbabwe.

“Economic, political and social discrepancies are not a result of how well we plan for our lives but more often than not a result of the kind of society into which we are born and our political leadership. This explains why the gap between the rich and the poor is very wide in this country,” said Muchararadza in reply to one youngster who had asked why he kept on donating food and money to the less privileged.

He called on youths to be resilient in the face of adversity adding that when focused, one would never go wrong in the quest for achievement.

“I am a living testimony of how remaining true to one’s aspirations is rewarding. After completing my O’ Level studies in 1996, I went to Harare to seek for employment and when it never came, I went to Masvingo and took up a laborious menial job of loading 50kg bags of maize onto trucks at GMB. Although not well paid, I endured the hard work in order to look after my elderly widowed mother and other siblings who were still in school.” After five years he used his savings to start cross-border trading. By 2005 he had raised enough to open a grocery shop at Mandadzaka Shopping Centre. In 2006, aged 28, he joined politics and was elected MDC-T Councilor for Ward 17 – the youngest councilor in Bikita.

Trouble started for Muchararadza when Zanu (PF) was trounced in local government elections in 2008 for the first time in 28 years. On 11 June 2008, his homestead, together with 32 others in Ward 17, was burnt to ashes. His granary was burnt and livestock destroyed.

“After such losses, we were surprised to be arrested – despite being the victims of known arsonists. I was arrested together with Ward 31 Councilor Moses Maphosa and four others and the spouse of Ward 16 councilor Shayanewako Tagarirofa. We were detained at Masvingo Remand Prison and released after four months on 2 August 2008,” Muchararadza said.

“We suffered a lot and lost property at the hands of these people but that is water under the bridge. We are working together with our former opponents from Zanu (PF) who were also elected into office. We have all realised we develop more united than divided,” he added.

Muchararadza runs a butchery, grocery shop and eating place at Chikuku Township. He has two lorries that ferry other businessmen’s wares and schoolchildren to sporting venues. “All these are results of hard work, resilience and a heart for forgiving others. I urge politicians and members of the public to emulate me and Zanu (PF) Councilor Philemon Chigamba of ward 18. We fought in the past and we now work together in harmony for the betterment of our constituents.”

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