We want honest leaders: Makokoba residents speak on upcoming polls

Every election, politicians make a beeline to Makokoba, Bulawayo’s oldest suburb with goodies in hand and promises to turn around one of the city’s impoverished settlements.

Makokoba was the epicentre of early nationalism and political activism with various national leaders using the suburb as their political springboard.

Four decades after the country gained independence poverty and the resultant social ills remain high in the suburb.  

With Zimbabwe set to hold its elections in a month’s time, CITE visited the suburb to find out about the residents’ expectations of the upcoming polls.

Modify Zhou, an entrepreneur, said he hopes that the next leaders who will be elected will be honest people who will assist informal traders to enhance their businesses. 

“We want leaders who are loyal, and honest. We do not want people who will lie to us. If they are given money or request money from various ministries, we want them to come back and rightfully use that money. It could be for community development, road construction, business start-ups or boosting entrepreneurs,” Zhou said. 

“As informal traders, we expect the government to cushion us. We do welding and carpentry, and some support from the leaders would go a long way. We expect to be assisted through workshops, they can bring in professional people that will help us to improve our businesses and to have financial support.” 

Zhou said the area where they operate does not have proper sanitation and he hopes that the incoming councillor will improve the situation.  

“We need water and sanitation services here where we work from. Proper toilets and improved provision of water supply. Lack of water and not having proper sanitation exposes us to diseases. Look at how the sewer is flowing in this community. We expect to have leaders who will promote hygiene both in our homes and at our workstations,” he said. 

Another resident, who identified himself as Madzonga, said he is mostly concerned about the state of service delivery in Makokoba.

“We need improved service delivery here in Makokoba. We go for long periods without water. If we can have a council that will improve our access to clean and safe water. We also have the challenge of refuse collection. Right now, our workspace is surrounded by litter. We also need our roads to be fixed. There have been accidents where people get hit by cars that will be evading potholes on the road,” he said.  

“We also need to have functional youth facilities. Look at how idle our young people are, we are so concerned about them. They resort to drug and alcohol abuse. If they could have proper spaces, vocational centres where they can learn various skills it could be better.” 

A barber, Archiford Madzonga, said he hopes that the incoming government will create better job opportunities so that people can take better care of their families. 

“We are being affected by corrupt officials. If we can fight corruption it could be better. If I am found here cutting people’s hair I would be forced to pay a bribe and that is not good. We want proper jobs, where we can work and earn well, then we can come and have these makeshift barbershops as a supplement,” he said 

Shepherd Chamufule, said: “We are hungry as a nation. Whoever is going to win as the president needs to control the prices of basic commodities. We cannot afford to buy things. We need to have proper roads.” 

An elderly resident, Patson Phiri, said as a pensioner, he hopes that the incoming government will address the issue of pensions. 

“I went to collect my money from NSSA on Monday. When I got to the shops I only picked a handful of groceries but when I got to the till they only told me that my money was enough to buy a 2kg packet of sugar and some chicken cuts,” Phiri said. 

“We need a strong currency. May the incoming leader be cognisant of our plight. If we will continue getting bond notes, can they have a higher value, and can we be able to buy stuff using it. If we are to have USD then can everyone have access to it because this multi-currency thing is benefitting some people and disadvantaging others.”

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