Challenges of being PR legislator

MDC-T proportional representation legislator, Dorothy Ndlovu claims to have championed several projects in Bulawayo.

By NIZBERT MOYO

Ndlovu won her way into Parliament through the proportional representation (PR), which gave women a ticket into the National Assembly.

She says in her role as PR legislator representing Bulawayo province, she has helped several women set up projects, learn about human rights abuses, business skills and the Constitution.

The following are excerpts of an interview between Southern Eye correspondent Nizbert Moyo (SE) and Dorothy Ndlovu (DN) on her role as PR legislator.

SE: May you give me a brief background about Dorothy Ndlovu and why you joined politics?

DN: I am a family woman, I joined politics as a Zapu cadre around the 1970s. I left my job as a nurse to join the liberation struggle outside to the country as I wanted to bring back our country from the minority rule to the majority rule.

I am one of those who formed MDC in the late 1990s because I was not happy with the Zanu PF regime of Robert Mugabe, as it was continuously amending the Constitution of Zimbabwe in order to suit themselves at the expense of the majority.

In 2013, I became an MP representing Bulawayo province through the quota system.

SE: What have you offered to the province as a PR MP?

DN: It has been my passion to represent women in my province as most of the women do not understand their rights as women, hence, are subjected to a lot of human rights abuses.

I have worked for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and have worked hand in hand with such NGOs as ZimRights [Zimbabwe Human Rights Association].

I have vast experience in issues to do with constitutionalism and my record dates back to the referendum “era”, where a lot of people voted “no”.

I have taught them conflict prevention, as this is important for a nation to progress. I have also taught them business skills such as brick moulding.

A lot of women in Cowdray Park have started this project and it has created employment for a number of people in the constituency.

The other one is fashion and fabrics, where I have taught women dress making.

A lot of beautiful work has been done in the constituency by women in this area as some even go outside the country to order material to manufacture their own fashion for business, which has now became their source of livelihood.

However, to be a PR MP is a challenge, especially when it comes to operations.

You are viewed as a threat to the sitting MPs in the constituencies, everything that you do for the constituency, you are supposed to seek permission from the sitting MP to avoid conflict.

SE: Since you do not have a constituency, how do you meet people?

DN: In each and every constituency, I have three representatives. The district chairpersons are the ones responsible for co-ordinating the district.

I always make sure that there is contact person in each and every district.

These people are responsible for mobilising each other in the constituency for me to go and address them.

This has worked very well for me, as I have established a good working relationship with most of the people in the constituency, hence, we approach issues as a team.

Some people come to my home so that we meet, but I do not encourage this, as my house is small I can not accommodate all of them at one time.

I have always told them to form groups and make an appointment with them so as for me to meet them.

I also receive some information from NGOs, who raise questions about certain issues, which they would have came across.

I take these issues and analyse them before I take them to parliament.

SE: What can you say of the five years you have been in parliament?

DN: To be honest with you, this was a training period, a learning experience and I consider myself a graduate now aiming for a constituency.

I have learnt a lot, for instance, issues of how to move a motion. Rubbing shoulders with those that had been there in parliament before was a great experience for me.

SE: What can you tell aspiring women politicians?.

DN: They should not go into politics for personal gain, but for the love of the community.

If people vote you into power, one should not start to look down upon them, be of some help to them, consider yourself as their servant.

Family first, yes, but if you see them having problems for instance, transport, offer them a lift because it is their power that made you own that car.