One of only six women in Harare’s City Council, Charity (nee Mombeshora) Bango has a regal manner. She speaks slowly, clearly enunciating her words and has such a calm demeanour you begin to wonder what could possibly jolt her. That demeanour belies, however, a sharp and incisive mind. Councillor Bango of Ward 41, which comprises Marlborough, Emerald Hill, Avonlea, Good Hope, New Adylinn, Bluff Hill, Ashbrittle, Westgate and Tynwald North, presides over a sizeable ward, yet she is undaunted. “I don’t look at how big the ward is, but I am excited by the opportunities that can be created to better the services delivery.” Harare News visited her to find out more…
What is your background?
I was born in1958 in Chitomborwizi near Makonde in Chinhoyi. I did my primary school there and then went for secondary schooling at St Augustines in Mutare. Due to a very stringent screening system prevalent those days I could not manage to continue my education in the formal way and I had to do the rest of my schooling through correspondence. My first job was with the first black veterinary surgeon Dexter Chavunduka, then I took up a teaching job and finally in 1981 I settled for a banking career with the Bank of Credit and Commerce, known today as CBZ, before turning to politics.
Have you had a political position before?
I came into politics in 2008 when I was elected councillor for ward 41, but I was born in a largely political family. As a matter of fact, my father left us in 1962 going to the war. So I was introduced to politics from the very tender age of five. My husband also had a strong political background having been in detention for several years before independence. It is his political and journalism background that shaped my political career.
Why did you choose to stand for councillor?
The passion to serve led me. There has been dearth of a people centred leadership and neglect of services for many years in many local authorities and that has to be put right. As a sitting councillor, my aim is to bring leadership that brings a change. I am not worried about staying-put but I am worried about the legacy I will leave.
What development plan will you bring to your ward?
My development plan is suburb based. Ward 41 is versatile and needs various approaches. Residents in these areas are facing different challenges. For instance, Marlborough has just two schools, a primary and secondary for a population of 55,000. Probably half of those people are of school going age, so there is need to find space for new schools. Areas like Good Hope need proper sanitation facilities, while in some suburbs I am looking at issues of street lights, roads and health facilities.
Service delivery has been poor in the past, should residents expect changes for better or for worse?
Yes, they should expect better service delivery, but I must say service delivery goes along with availability of resources and unity of purpose across the political, religious, race or ethnic divide. It is possible for residents to expect change if resources are put to correct use.
You were elected by the people to represent them, how can they communicate with you?
I have initiated a number of programmes, among them the Marlborough Environment Action Group (MEAG) which I believe is a platform that residents can use to communicate as well as air their grievances. Residents can use it to discuss various issues such as water supply, roads rehabilitation, street lighting, and crime. Residents are encouraged to come to these meetings and share their views.
Contact Charity on 0777 374 069.