Mufahore cheers the aged

For many politicians assisting and visiting the electorate or the less privileged members of their constituency is usually only done towards election time.

Ward 6 Councillor and Norton Chairperson, Precious Mufahore
Ward 6 Councillor and Norton Chairperson, Precious Mufahore

But ever since she was first elected as Councillor for Norton’s Ward 6 in 2008, the town’s Chairperson, Precious Mufahore, 34, has been a mother to thousands in her area.

Poverty stricken members of her community never cease to knock on her door, asking for money and various food items. They regard Mufahore as their city-mother – and their desperation led her to set up an informal community-based organisation, Gender-Call, in 2010 together with her nephew Tinashe Jonas, 27.

Many elderly people in the ward have benefitted from the organisation, regardless of their political affiliation. Members come from across the political divide.

“Mufahore is a good leader and we are proud of her as she has become our saviour despite her youthful age. She is not selective and partisan in assisting the elderly of the community and frequently distribute food hampers,” said a widow, Mandipeyi Lengisi, 72, who lives alone.

“Of all the five female councillors in the previous council from her party, she is the only returning councillor who has gone on to win the chair of the council. This explains who she is,” added Lengisi.

“We realised that it was better to buy food hampers and distribute them to members of the group. We use our own pocket money to purchase the food items – mainly isugar, rice, flour, cooking oil and mealie meal,” Mufahore said.

Another beneficiary, Freddy Bible, 74, said Mufahore had been consistent in assisting him since 2010. “I do not know what happened to her this year ahead of elections – but she forgot us. Don’t look back my daughter, please continue with your good work,” pleaded Bible. Mufahore explained that she could not distribute the food hampers ahead of elections for safety reasons. “Since the group consists of people of all political persuasions, I had to be careful not to appear as though I was vote buying or luring them to join my party, the MDC-T. It was also important for me to have a sound budget for my election campaign. But now that is it over we will continue with our work – and this time bigger and better,” she said.

Ketina (63) and Loveness Makona (59), both widows who were married together and still live together said: “Loveness and I were married by the late Makona and are both beneficiaries of Mufahore’s programme. We stay with my son aged 30 and jobless and three grand-children, who all go to school. We hope Mufahore will help us establish projects like peanut butter making, poultry or give us capital to buy and sell beans and fish.”

As soon as she has finished her chairperson’s inauguration and assumed office, Mufahore plans to register Gender-Call as a voluntary and charitable organisation.

“We currently have 50 members (25 men and 25 women) and we are targeting to grow to 1,000 members – including all age groups. As a passionate gender activist and politician it has always been my dream to uplift the lifestyle of my community especially those I represent. I also plan to use the chairperson’s cheer fund to help the 13 wards in Norton,” she added.

The youthful chairperson, who is still single, is also the Youth Gender Representative for Norton District for the Gender Justice and Local Government Summit Awards for Zimbabwe – a position she has held since 2012.

She was runner-up in the leadership category and producer of a Gender 50/50 Documentary film by women in local government, titled “Gender 50/50 a Human Justice and Possibility”.

“Our main mission as Gender-Call is to create an enabling environment for the less fortunate members of the society to be self-sustaining and to fight poverty which usually leads to drug-abuse, diseases, immorality, shame and crime.

“I invite willing partners, church organisations or well-wishers to help me eradicate poverty in Norton. Like the saying ‘charity begins at home’, I use my own means to set an example that all things are possible,” said Mufahore.

One of her top priorities is to set up the Norton Arts Festival to create a platform for the youth to venture into the arts industry and to create employment.

“An idle mind is a devil’s workshop and we will use the festival to campaign for various issues affecting the community and to promote development among the youth she said.

Out of 192 heavy industries that used to be based in Norton, only eight are still operational. Most of the 85 light industries continue to operate.

Post published in: News

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