Matabeleland MPs prioritise improvements

MPs in the region have pledged to work hard for the betterment of their constituencies in 2014.

“Hwange Colliery is the backbone of my constituency. We want the problems bedevilling the company to be addressed as a matter of urgency.” – Brian Tshuma.
“Hwange Colliery is the backbone of my constituency. We want the problems bedevilling the company to be addressed as a matter of urgency.” – Brian Tshuma.

MPs from both the ruling party Zanu (PF) and the opposition MDC-T expressed their vigour and enthusiasm in developing their constituencies as well as effectively representing their constituents in parliament.

Brian Tshuma, the MDC-T MP for Hwange Central said he would spend most of his energy addressing the plight of scores of Hwange Colliery Company workers who have gone for several months without pay.

“Hwange Colliery is the backbone of my constituency. If the company catches a cold, the entire town sneezes. We want the problems bedevilling the company to be addressed as a matter of urgency,” said Tshuma.

Tshuma said he would be taking the workers’ issues to parliament if management failed to address the crisis this year.

Tshuma also attacked the company’s management for setting the police on the workers’ wives, who recently staged a demonstration against the colliery management demanding outstanding salaries and allowances for their spouses.

“The problems at the company cannot be solved by brutalising and beating innocent people. It is the role of the board to play a leadership role and to respond appropriately, and not just to shareholders but to their workers’ concerns as well,” said Tshuma.

The company, which has accumulated $140m in debts, has also started laying off workers, leaving scores of people jobless.

The parliamentarian also called upon the Zanu (PF) government to instil investor confidence and fulfil its election promises.

Malach Nkomo, the Zanu (PF) Insiza South MP, said his first priority would be the rehabilitation of roads and the establishment of more secondary schools offering science subjects.

“I have observed that most students from my constituency do not qualify to enrol at the National University of Science and Technology because very few schools in the constituency offer science subjects, which are a requisite at the university. During my term, I want to make sure that this problem is addressed,” said Nkomo.

He said some of the major challenges also facing the constituency were poor roads, shortage of water and poor mobile phone network problems.

“My constituency is a dry area and is always experiencing droughts. I will advocate for the establishment of more irrigation schemes. Most of the roads in my constituency are also terribly bad and they need urgent attention,” said Nkomo.

Anele Ndebele, the MDC-T MP for Magwegwe, said he was going to prioritise the establishment of health centres and factory shells in the constituency.

“Some people in my constituency walk long distances to get medical care. I want to ensure that, by the time my term expires, Magwegwe will have more accessible clinics.

“Right now, I am also in the process of negotiating with the Bulawayo city council for land for the establishment of factory shells in the constituency. We want all unemployed youths and women to venture into business projects like candle-making. For these factory shells to make an impact, we will be emphasising quality products that will be able to compete with South African imports,” said Ndebele.

In parliament, the legislator said he and his party would continue to advocate for the application of the new constitution as well as the realignment of oppressive laws such as Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

The MP for Bulawayo East constituency, Tabitha Khumalo, said she would continue to fight for a just society.

“For me, I will basically continue from where I left off during the previous parliament session – fighting for justice. I will also continue to effectively represent my constituency by debating real issues,” she said.

Khumalo has spoken out strongly on the Gukurahundi atrocities. She has also seconded a motion by Mutare Central legislator Innocent Gonese for the amendment of POSA. Khumalo has also been credited by residents for distributing the Hansard parliamentary debates in the constituency as well as articulating women’s issues, especially the need for government to subsidise sanitary wear.

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