The enormous challenges faced by Harare make the job of councillor a difficult one. With just seven out of 46 council posts being filled by women, ward two councillor Auxillia Mahachi has an even tougher task representing her constituents in chambers. Despite this, she seems to be enjoying the job, due to the support she is receiving from her community.
Mahachi was born on 17 August 1955 at Harare Hospital and grew up in the high density suburb of Highfield in the section popularly known as Egypt. She attended Nyandoro Primary School and Kwenda Mission for her primary education. Mahachi then attended St Peter’s in Highfield for her secondary education.
Mahachi then found work as a clerk at a clothing company in the capital where she worked for 15 years, until she left to pursue cross-border trading which she did until 2004.
“I was motivated to run for council by the 50%-50% proportional representation between man and women that was being advocated for in our various political parties,” says Mahachi.
Turning to council work, Mahachi openly admits that she has not managed to carry out any tangible projects in her ward since assuming her post due to cash shortages, but explains how she is helping residents who need her representation.
“I am helping those with land problems such as leases, and those who require church space and some have already been granted their permits and leases. As for projects, there is no money but, people are coming and I am helping in any way I can,” she says.
Mahachi adds that people in her ward faced various challenges, but hopes that the recently approved 10% retention on all revenue collections for wards will go a long way in addressing challenges faced by residents.
“Right now nothing is happening in terms of service delivery. We are hoping that the 10% will enable us to address our challenges. We are facing challenges with council workers’ response to fault calls – they take long to respond even if you call them three or more times a day.”
Mahachi also says that her ward is facing challenges of refuse collection, which she attributes to the breaking-down of some council refuse trucks: “The sharing of the functional refuse trucks by wards is now affecting the refuse collection time-table as the truck now comes even in the afternoon. I believe this can be solved by the 10% which will enable wards to repair their trucks.”
As a woman leading one of the biggest and most interesting wards in Harare, Mahachi explains that she is happy with the support she is getting from residents in her community participation initiatives.
“I have done pot-hole filling and clean-up campaigns at various points in my ward, and residents have shown a lot of enthusiasm to participate and right now they are actually calling for more such projects. At the moment we are rehabilitating the swimming bath in Arcadia and it is almost complete,” says Mahachi.