MUTARE Central constituency is a high-density suburb, which also stretches to some industrial areas and has six wards. Most people in the constituency are not employed and are informal traders who survive on selling different wares.

By KENNETH NYANGANI

Problems in the constituency

lShortage of housing and poor living conditions − (Local Government minister)

lPerennial water shortages and burst sewers – (Environment and Water minister)

lInflux of informal traders due to unemployment – (Industry/ Labour minister)

lShortages of space for informal traders – (Local Government minister)

Lack of libraries – (Local Government minister)

Performance of the MP in the National Assembly

Mutare Central MP, Innocent Gonese was one of the most vocal MPs in the Eighth Parliament. He was also the MDC-T chief whip. During the Eighth Parliament, he raised very pertinent issues about early child marriages, and was instrumental in crafting of several Bills. For instance, he was one of MPs who suggested amendments to the Electoral Amendment Bill. The MP contributed to most motions and almost every Bill brought before Parliament, using his legal expertise to scrutinise laws. He also sat on the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice where he was very instrumental in crafting of Bills and amendments to oppressive legislation like the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and several others.

What people in Mutare Central said about their MP

Patrick Chagonda (43) from Chitungo suburb

Here in Sakubva we have some families who are living in squalid conditions such as in Chimoi, Matida Flats and Maonde. These are places where six to seven family members share one room. The crime rate is very high in Sakubva and the other thing is that we need street lights. The other challenge we are facing is bursting sewer pipes and we fear diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Our MP constructed a borehole at Matida Flats and people are thankful with the gesture as they had no water supplies.

Tatenda Murimbo (34) from Chisamba Singles in Sakubva

Gonese has failed to develop the constituency. He always says that he is Parliament to formulate laws, but at his constituency there are many people that are disadvantaged and we feel the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) can be used to assist them with projects. I think he should also assist people at funerals.

We voted for him and so he should be seen carrying out developmental projects. However, I want to commend him for providing roofing materials at one of the vending sites. It will assist traders to sell their wares during the rainy season.

Marshall Chagora (36) from Mazhambe in Sakubva

The MP should ensure he speaks on our behalf so that water challenges bedevilling the constituency are solved, especially at Sakubva bus terminus where water is disconnected every day. We are also paying $1 per day to sell our wares and have already approached Gonese to talk to the responsible authorities on our behalf.

Wilson Muponda from Maonde area

We hope the MP will use CDF to construct recreational facilities so that our children have a playground after school. It will also encourage children to take part in sporting activities.

Chido Muchingwe (34) from Chineta

Mutare Central has not been developing for the past 10 years and our MP told us that his only role is to formulate laws in Parliament. We feel that he should assist us to address serious issues like water shortages affecting the constituency.

Gerald Murwira (43)

I work in the industrial area for a timber company. The MP should raise issues in Parliament about lack of water for industries to function well. The timber industry is the heartbeat of Mutare and if there is no water, there will be no business.

Tatenda Magombiro (34) from Chimoi

My request is that the MP should approach the Mutare City Council on our behalf to ensure they give us the houses where we rent on a permanent basis. Currently, I share two rooms with eight family members. We also need street lights in Chimoi area.

The MP’s response

l have been vocal in Parliament, especially on the various challenges facing my people in the constituency. In Parliament, I suggested recommendations, which can come in handy in the improvement of service delivery such as housing challenges and mainly water challenges. I am aware of deep housing shortages and that some families are being forced to live in squalid conditions in my constituency. There are some council-owned houses and l have been fighting so that the residents can be given those houses on permanent basis in order to improve their living conditions. I have since alerted Mutare City Council about the issue and am still pursuing it.

l have drilled a borehole in one of the wards in my constituency where there are serious water challenges. I have also alerted City of Mutare on the issues of those residents that are affected by constant electricity cuts and failure by council to maintain the properties. There is also a lot of garbage in the streets and I have alerted them.

I have also used CDF to build a footbridge that connects Mutare Central and Dangamvura/Chikanga constituency. l contributed half of the amount, and the Zanu PF MP for Chikanga constituency Esau Mupfumi also contributed the other half. On the issue of street lights, I have always alerted Mutare City Council to do something about it.