Ward 11 is one of four wards that contain the large and dense Mbare areas. This month we interview Councillor Anthony Shingadeya, but watch this space to meet the other Mbare councillors.
Councillor Anthony Shingadeya presides over a ward that can be described as the most politically volatile in the city. His ward encompasses Mbare, one of the oldest townships in the country that was founded in 1907 as the English settlement of Salisbury began to expand. As the growing city industrialised, men from the rural areas and as far afield as Mozambique, Zambia, and Malawi began to settle in the quickly expanding suburb of Harari, a name that the capital later took for its own after independence.
What is your background?
I was born in 1962 at the Harare Confinement Centre in Mbare. I started my primary school at St Peter’s Catholic School and Ruzivo in Mufakose in the 70s. I then went to Mufakose High for my Zimbabwe Junior Certificate. I had to get my Ordinary level qualifications by correspondence. My father was a well known carpenter in Mbare, so when I finished school I decided to join him. That’s how my career in the furniture making business began.
I then worked for a number of furniture manufacturers that included Bowline Furniture and Callans Furniture, among others, before I started my own venture in 1984.
Why did you become a politician?
I have always felt that I had something to give back to my community and the best way of doing it was to represent them in council. So when my ward asked me to represent them I accepted the offer. This is my first time to be in council but I have been active in politics since 1999.
What are your plans for the ward?
There are a number of challenges that faces my ward. Firstly my ward can be described as the life-blood of Harare as it houses both residential and industrial properties. For residents of Mbare the most contentious issue has been that of title deeds. As you know, Mbare properties are still owned by council. People have been asking when the council is going to give them title deeds in order for them to develop their properties. I have brought the matter before council and I hope soon council will pass a resolution on the matter. The second area to improve is the refurbishing of recreational facilities. These facilities have been a source of sporting and artistic talent. I believe sports and the arts can offer alternative sources of employment. In the wake of the economic downturn we are experiencing as a country we can take our youths off the streets. Right now many of the industries in my area have been closed and we need alternative sources of employment. The third area is the resurfacing of roads. Council has started resurfacing some of the roads though at a snail’s pace but I will push council to speed up the process, resources permitting.
Are you going to implement your plans despite the economic hardships?
That is the main obstacle we are facing right now. But I believe if we push for decentralisation, something can be achieved. Financial prudence is required at Town House and we will be able to deliver if we are objective, not looking at who gets the credit.
The state of service delivery and the state of infrastructure has been a cause of concern, how can this be addressed?
Again I go back to the need for decentralisation. I believe if we do that we will be in a position to monitor what is happening in our areas. For instance, we have embarked on cleaning our areas to the extent that we have enlisted litter monitors but most of the time the non-collection of refuse has let us down. And when refuse is not collected, residents end up dumping litter anywhere.