Female councillors: MDC-T deserves pat on the back


THE just-ended harmonised elections delivered unexpected results in the various areas of government, ushering in new brooms hopefully in Cabinet and more certainly at local authorities.

Southern Eye Editorial

Zanu PF won control of most rural councils while MDC-T was again entrusted by the electorate to run urban local authorities.

MDC-T swept all the 29 urban wards in Bulawayo, which means it won the right to select the city’s next mayor.

However, what has caught our attention is the increase in the number of female councillors that have been elected into the Bulawayo City Council.

A total of eight women were elected out of 29 seats in Bulawayo’s council.

This was a giant leap from the three that were in the last administration and MDC-T deserves a pat on the back for ensuring that women were well-represented on its candidate lists.

Women’s organisations that mobilised and educated women to participate in leadership and policy-making positions must also be commended.

The organisations, however, must not rest on their laurels after this major achievement, but turn their focus to 2018 when the country will hold its next elections.

The ratio of women’s councillors is still far below the envisaged Sadc minimum quota of a third for women candidates, with this being pushed to 50-50.

Newly-elected councillors could do the struggle a great deal of help by ensuring that they deliver. It has been argued that issues of service delivery affect women more than men.

Bulawayo is facing a myriad of service delivery problems and it is our hope that the new councillors will bring innovative ways of dealing with the ever-worsening shortage of clean water and the falling hygiene standards.

Women bear the brunt of the water shortages and blocked sewer pipes in the high-density suburbs.

The election of more women councillors would hopefully ensure that these issues are always kept on the agenda of the new council.

But the new councillors must not expect to be treated with kid gloves merely because they are women.

They would have to justify their presence in council by ensuring that the city improves its service delivery.