To most of his friends and colleagues he is known simply as “Rusty”. His philosophy in life is to live simply and be disciplined. Allan Norman Markham is a down to earth person who believes that our quality of life is determined largely by the way people relate to their everyday environment.
He is Councillor for Ward 18, which includes Borrowdale, Borrowdale Brooke, Crowhill, Glen Lorne, Philadelphia, Hogerty Hill and Umwinsidale.
What is your background?
I was born in 1960 in Choma, in Zambia from Zimbabwean parentage. I did my primary school there and then my family moved back to Chimanimani which is my parents’ home area. I did my high school at Mutare High in the 70s. In 1980 I enrolled at the Gwebi College to study Agriculture. After college I settled in Marondera until 1987. I went to Malawi and came back in 1998. I am married to Louise and have two children, daughter Lilly and son Lyon.
Why did you choose to be a Councillor?
I am not a politician in the political sense. I want to see things work and people liked my views. They chose me because of my passion to serve my community.
What challenges are you facing in your ward?
Contrary to what many people think all is not well in Borrowdale, as well as other areas of my ward. There has not been piped water for the past 4 years and most people rely on boreholes. The number of housing projects is increasing and with the water table going down and wetlands being threatened, many residents are facing acute water challenges. Roads are in a terrible condition and the District Offices are in a poor state, despite the fact that areas like Borrowdale, Hogerty Hill and Borrowdale Brooke pay the highest rates.
What development plans are you putting in place?
I have started mobilising support from the community to form committees to oversee some of the more important tasks. These small committees will be spearheaded by individuals from the community. They will look at the roads for instance, and will mobilise funds for rehabilitating them. As an affluent ward I believe we are in a good position to organise ourselves well and deal with problems so as to improve our neighbourhoods. Another objective is to preserve our water sources through educating people about their importance and appealing to planners to respect and adhere to proper planning procedures.
Do you think the City is doing enough to improve its financial status?
In some quarters, yes. For instance, the City’s Human Resources Department has so far done a commendable job. I believe that with financial discipline the city is going to be able to make some progress. We need to focus on what needs to be done and channel our resources in the right direction.
The City’s public health care, roads and other services and amenities are in a shambles. What plans do you have to improve them?
Again, I emphasise the point that we need discipline. Look at the way people are dumping waste. Fining or arresting people for littering doesn’t really solve the problem. Our attitude towards our environment determines our living conditions. We can save the money and the resources we are putting into collecting illegally dumped rubbish if everyone behaves more responsibly.