Residents should identify projects, dispense CDF: Tarusenga

The MDC-T Member of Parliament for St Marys plans to form a Constituency Development Committee composed of all stakeholders responsible for identifying priority projects and dispensing the development fund.

Dickson Unganayi Tarusenga - Constituency Development Committees .
Dickson Unganayi Tarusenga – Constituency Development Committees .

The newly-elected legislator, Unganayi Dickson Tarusenga (52), said no community-based development would be successful without engaging the people, as they are better positioned to identify problems affecting their lives.

He is convinced that solutions to problems affecting his constituency can only come from the people. MPs should not be directly involved with the day-to-day activities involving the CDF, as this could promote corruption, he said.

The committee will have a chairperson, secretary, treasurer, committee members and ward level project officers. Stakeholders would be representatives of organisations such as those representing war veterans, churches, teachers, orphans, the widowed, the elderly, people with disabilities and various political parties.

In consultation with residents, this committee will would come up with solutions to problems bedevilling St Marys. Problems will be solved at either council or parliamentary level depending on their nature. It will be the MP’s role to channel problems to relevant offices for solutions.

“St Marys should fight as a family and either win or lose the war from a common front,” said Tarusenga. The committee will take problems beyond the scope of both the local authority and parliament to donors for possible aid.

To prepare ground for the development initiative, Tarusenga has already engaged leaders from across the political divide and expects to call an all stakeholders’ meeting soon.

To get a feel of problems around the constituency, Tarusenga has met with street vendors, householders and authorities at schools and health institutions. Vendors told him that they expected his office to facilitate provision of public toilets, water and sheds at designated vending points. An estimated 80 percent of the residents are vendors.

St Marys, one of the oldest suburbs in the country, has no government secondary school to cater for poor families, as institutions providing secondary education are all privately owned.

Admitting that employment creation would be a huge challenge ‘with the Zanu (PF) government’, Tarusenga, said he would do everything within his powers to empower people in the informal sector.

“Informal sectors should directly benefit from government policies and grow. Backyard welders and carpenters should grow into established industrialists able to employ others and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product,” Tarusenga said. He promised to spend the next five years striving to produce tangible beneficiaries of his constituency empowerment policies.

To help his constituency follow proceedings in Parliament and as a vehicle for feedback, the legislator regularly distributes thousands copies of the Hansard to residents. He took over the constituency from MDC-T legislator Marvellous Khumalo.

Like the majority of other urban settlements, St Marys faces a host of challenges such as lack of adequate water, dysfunctional sewer reticulation infrastructure and unemployment. Some households last received tap water four years ago, while for the lucky few, the precious resource trickles from their taps for a few minutes once a week.

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