Bulawayo ‘problem child’ gives MP headache

Luveve/Cowdray Park constituency consists of three wards, Luveve, Gwabalanda and Cowdray Park.

By NIZBERT MOYO

Problems in the constituency that the MP can highlight in Parliament

lUnemployment – (Labour ministry)

lLack of servicing of stands – (Local Government ministry)

lLack of a clinic, police station and poor road network – (Health and Local Government and Home Affairs ministries)

Performance of the MP in Parliament

Luveve-Cowdray Park MP Ntandoyenkosi Mlilo (Zanu PF) was elected in 2015 after MDC-T fired its 18 parliamentarians for crossing the floor to Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party.

Despite being a new legislator, he has managed to contribute to debate in Parliament.

What people say about their MP

Herbert Maseko

I know the MP, he is a local person, who socialises with people. He used to pay for the transportation of food handouts during the food distribution programme in the area and regularly calls for constituency meetings. The problem is that people do not attend in their numbers.

Melusi Ncube

The MP has brought development to schools by donating plumbing material and repainting classrooms, of which this is a step towards the right direction for our children. I am told he has also refurbished some roads in Cowdray Park

Brighton Muranganwa (AFM church administrator)

The MP donated 10 bags of cement to our church.

Greater Gumede (residents association)

I am not sure about the projects spearheaded by the MP. I could have missed them as I am not always around.

Nokuthula Msipha

Women in the constituency have tried to ask for projects support from him, but we have not seen anything coming up.
Mlilo’s response

Honestly, people have to understand that I have worked for the constituency for a short period of time, but my record speaks for itself. I started work as an MP in 2015 after losing as a councillor in 2013. I was inspired by my mother to join politics in 1996 and I became Zanu PF secretary for the youth league and rose through the ranks to become the provincial secretary for indigenisation and economic empowerment in 2013.

Cowdray Park is the problem child; it is the biggest suburb in as much as it boasts of over 15 000 housing units, some of them built under Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle programme. There is no sewer, no road network and no electricity. We are getting running water projects at exorbitant prices. The programme was not structured, particularly during the handover to Bulawayo City Council. They started billing residents $3 000 instead of tailor-making it in a manner that people could afford. The programme lacked engagement between residents and the city council; this is why residents are always up in arms with council as they are frustrated.

We should learn to separate politics from development. I have made an arrangement with the Transport and Infrastructure minister, who has promised to construct the 7,1km Garikai Road. I have consulted residents on how to use the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and engaged Zesa Holdings to electrify Cowdray Park Primary School. I donated 50 combination desks to Cowdray Park Primary and Secondary schools and 33 of these to Mkhithika, 34 at Tategulu, and 33 to Mahlathini. Cowdray Park has the highest crime rate compared to other wards as the number of residents outweighs the number of police officers.

We wanted to build a police station, but we were told that force has not been allocated, I have engaged the Justice minister to come and explain issues to do with the handling of deceased estates, as I have noted that a lot of people are ignorant about them. I will also invite other MPs from other constituencies for this programme. I will share the CDF equally among the three wards. I have also donated 1 000 HIV-testing machines to Cowdray Park Clinic, 1 000 to Luveve clinic and provided a fowl-run to Luveve Secondary School, repainted Thembiso Primary School. At Mafakela, Mbizo and Luveve primary schools I repainted and tiled toilets.

Using CDF funds, I resuscitated toilets at Matshayisikhova, tiled Fusi Primary School at a cost of $4 500. I supplied Inyanda School with 10 laptops outside CDF, and then used CDF to purchase projectors and screens. Ten other laptops were donated to Cowdray Park outside the CDF. Nzwananzi Primary School toilets were refurbished. We are in the process of buying books for the new curriculum and we also want to fence Cowdray Park Primary School.

I have managed to assist 800 students to get their results from schools and I have a good rapport with businesspeople, who have donated some materials to schools and to the communities such as Raj Modi. I have engaged youths in sport to go for HIV-testing, so as to live positively.

I interact with them well, as I stay in Gwabalanda. We buy groceries from the same shops as I grew up in the same area, join clubs with them, participated in burial societies, and I meet with residents’ associations, but I have a problem in that once I call for a meeting they do not attend. We should leave politics behind when it comes to issues to do with development. I have challenges in that Bulawayo City Council does not offer me a hall for free to hold meetings with residents.

I have already submitted my curriculum vitae to contest in the forthcoming elections. I am a God-fearing man, I put everything to God, and have a passion to save people of my region, God will guide me.