Many politicians claimed power from popularity in their constituencies though they are far from qualified to serve office. This is not the case for Lancelot Sunshine Mudavanhu, councillor of Ward 16. The man has been serving the city for more than 25 years, first in the District Office then as a councillor.
Though bound to a wheel chair – he was involved in a car accident some 15 years ago – Mudavanhu doesn’t let this stop him from passionately serving his people. Sometimes his injuries take a toll on him, even pushing him to bed, but he remains resilient. He is working hard to change the corrupt system and move politics to transparency and accountability.
What is your background?
I was born in Highfields 59 years ago. I did my primary education and part of my secondary education there before transferring to a boarding school. After my ‘O’ Levels I joined the government as a trainee district officer. I rose through the ranks and became district administrator in 1986. I finally left local governance in 1994 after 20 years of service. I worked in the private sector for a year before pursuing a small family business I still run.
Why did you choose to stand for councillor?
I have a passion to serve and assist the community I live in.
Have you held a political post before?
This is my second term as councillor. My first term was in 2008.
What developments are you planning to bring to your constituency?
I want to resuscitate roads. I want residents to live in a clean environment.I want my people to have adequate clean running water. I would like our public health system to be satisfactory. I also want decent housing available for residents.
Bearing in mind that our city is facing economic hardships, how are you going to implement your developments/plans?
Generally, things like roads and health care should be financed by City of Harare (CoH) through revenue from rates. We can provide housing through cooperatives. There is already a cooperative in Mabelreign with 40 people that already has raised $120,000 more or less. All they are waiting for is the CoH to provide them with land, service it, and they are ready to start construction.
Unemployment has been a major problem in the city resulting in many illicit activities; do you have a plan to curb that?
Unemployment is really a growing problem and acting alone there is not much I can do. However working with fellow councillors from other wards in the city, we are looking at reducing it through expansion of our health services hence the recently completed Kuwadzana and Budiriro clinics. Easy Park and City Park projects have also employed many young people. We haven’t managed to do much because we lack financing but if we go forward with infrastructure we can create more jobs.
Politicians are renowned for making promises they do not intend to keep; how can you be held accountable?
I did not make any promises during my campaign. My message was thatpeople should identify their needs and we tackle them as we go not just as a city but as a community. As for accountability, the community can always decide when I fail to deliver and confront me.
Is there a way you have planned for those you are representing to communicate with you?
Through report back meetings, public forums, gatherings and through social structures including churches and schools. I also have an arrangement where individuals or groups can always arrange for us to meet.
What makes you proud to belong to your ward?
I have property here. I have lived here since 1981. I have transferred my roots from where I grew up, so to speak.
How can people get hold of you?
They can visit my house, No. 6, 38 Ave Mabelreign. My phone number is 311103, my cell is 0772 412 853. People can also email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.