Councillor battles for resources to develop ward

In Zimbabwe it is unacceptable for civil servants to publicly declare their allegiance to any political party other than Zanu (PF).

Thabitha Ngwenya: risked her life and her job by embracing the MDC in 1999.
Thabitha Ngwenya: risked her life and her job by embracing the MDC in 1999.

Most of those who have dared to defy this unwritten rule have found themselves either out of employment or have become subjects of victimisation at work.

MDC-T Bulawayo ward six councillor Thabitha Ngwenya and her husband are among some of the few courageous civil servants who risked both their lives and their jobs by openly embracing the MDC‘s ideals and principals during the party’s formation in 1999.

During that time, Ngwenya was working as a senior nurse at Mpilo Hospital while her husband was a police officer.

“Both myself and my husband have never liked Zanu (PF) despite being government employees. When the MDC was formed we were all actively involved because we strongly believed in the party‘s principles and ideals. I was under surveillance at work for a long time but things became particularly bad during the period leading to the 2002 Presidential elections. That was the time when we were forced to go undercover,” said Ngwenya in an interview with The Zimbabwean.

Active politics

During the height of the economic meltdown, Ngwenya resigned from the government and joined the Bulawayo City Health Department. She rose through the ranks and become Sister- In-Charge of the Dr Sheani Clinic in PG until her retirement in 2009. While working for the city council she was also actively involved in politics.

During last year’s July helections, Ngwenya was selected by her party to represent it in ward six where she won overwhelmingly.

She is among the eight female councillors in the MDC–T dominated Bulawayo city council. Ngwenya said her efforts to start incoming-earning projects for the youths and women in the ward were being hampered by lack of resources from council.


“The decision by the government to slash residents’ debts during last year’s elections has really crippled council operations. I need resources to empower youths and women in my ward who have been affected by the closure of companies. There are also a lot of pensioners in my ward,” she said.

Ward six falls under the once booming Belmont industrial area. Most of the factories in the area now resemble ghost buildings as a result of closure due to the current economic meltdown.

Through her own efforts, the councillor she has managed to mobilise resources for a brick moulding project for youths in the area.

“Council has already provided the site for this project. For a start, we will consider unemployed youths from poor backgrounds. I am also in the process of discussing with other potential donors for more such projects. By the time my term comes to an end, my wish is to leave a mark in the ward,” she said.


The councillor said she was also lobbying humanitarian organisations such the Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT) and World Vision to establish nutritional gardens for the elderly and people living with HIV and Aids.

Ngwenya said very soon she would launch a group residents website to be used as a platform for discussing developmental and service delivery issues in ward.

Ngwenya was born in Serima area in Gutu district in 1943. She did her primary school at Zengeya primary school in the district before proceeding to Mtshede secondary school in Bulawayo.

She trained as a general nurse at Munene Hospital in Mberengwa in 1960. She is married with four children.

Post published in: News

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