No more excuses. No more complaining. The time for change and making things happen for you, your family and your community is here. Unhappy with the way things are in Zimbabwe? Then make a difference and run for Councillor of your Ward.
It can be tempting to think that politics is completely out of the reach of the ordinary average person. After all, if you’ve voted in the last few presidential elections, there tends to be a pretty predictable outcome in terms of the top leadership of this country. But what about local government? This is where the everyday decisions that affect most of our lives are made. In fact, a councillor is a crucial interface between local government and the community.
Just ask Peter Manjoro, Councillor of Ward 16 (Mabelreign). In 2015, Manjoro ran for Councillor and won. When I asked him what prompted to him to get involved in politics he said, “It is the duty of every citizen to ask how they can improve their community. Myself I felt there was something I needed to do in my community. Most people lack the courage to do it, and make no mistake it is a 24/7 job. But it is a privilege to be able to articulate the issues my community face in Chambers.” He added that it is a difficult but ultimately rewarding job that anyone who is committed can take on. “Without passion you won’t go anywhere.”
Passion. How many of have railed against the permanent potholes that lie unfixed for years, simply getting wider and deeper every rainy season year after year after year? How many of us wish for a regular and clean water supply in a city that was designed to deliver just that but more often than not does not? Instead of cynicism and jokes about how bad things have gotten, you can run for Councillor of your Ward and get involved in the way things get done and try to change things for the better. It may seem like a daunting task, but running for office at the local level is quite simple. According the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the only qualifications that are required for you to run for Councillor are that you:
That’s it. When I asked Manjoro for any advice he would give to anyone thinking of running for council he said, “Some of the people’s needs are not explicit. Many people don’t have the context, they just know they are unhappy about something, but they don’t know what can be done to fix it. You must be able to look at and identify the ‘felt’ needs of the people.”
Manjoro hastened to add that this is not a paid position and that the role of Councillor is rewarded with a very modest stipend to help facilitate the work. It’s not a position of glory and if you take it on, you must have another reliable source of income. However, he is quite unequivocal about the value the job has brought to his own life. “Being a councillor has brought me a lot of joy. I’ve really been part of instigating and seen a paradigm shift in my community.In fact, people when they see you now in action, they want to join in. Personally, it has brought me a lot of joy.” So what are you waiting for? Vote for (your name here)!
Why or why not would you consider becoming a councillor? firstname.lastname@example.org