ZDDT News’ Field Correspondent, Mandla Tshuma (MT), recently met up with Councillor Charles Moyo (CM), Ward 9, and discussed a number of issues pertaining to community leadership.
In the interview, Cllr Moyo shares his experiences as councillor for the past four years.
Below are some extracts from their conversation.
MT: As we begin our interview councillor, may you kindly introduce yourself.
CM: Thank you very much. I am Cllr Charles Moyo, councillor for Ward 9. That includes Mpopoma and Matshobana.
MT: For how long have you been the councillor for Ward 9?
CM: I can say three to four years now because I came into office in 2013.
MT: What would you say you have learnt to date about leading people that you did not know, maybe before?
CM: One thing which I have learnt is being criticised. Some people can actually lead a clique and say we want to demonstrate against the councillor, some people can criticise you and say the councillor is not attending funerals. So I can say much more is about being criticised whether or not you are doing well.
However, there are some people who would come to you and say councillor we are happy that you have worked so far in good spirit in responding to our needs.
MT: Who do you work with in the ward in executing your leadership duties?
CM: I work with residents associations. There is BUPRA; there is BURA. I also work with the (ZDDT) CAT and other organisations.
MT: How is your relationship with residents in your ward?
CM: I am working with them very well to the extent that all the meetings are held in my office. Actually, I said it is their office. I have a good relationship with all of them, I can say.
MT: What would you say are some of your greatest achievements as a councillor?
CM: When I came into office, residents were complaining about not having a police base in Matshobana. I am happy that the base has since been set up and is now serving the community.
That is one of my greatest achievements I can say because when I came to office they told me that all the previous councillor had failed to bring that to fruition.
MT: So when was that base station set up?
CM: It was in 2015.
MT: Now looking at the capacity building that you received from ZDDT, how has that helped you as a community leader?
CM: That has improved my leadership very much. That is why when there are ZDDT meetings, I always make sure that I attend. Surely I wouldn’t be attending them if they were not helping me.
But the fact that they help me very much, I diarise them and ensure that I attend. I am learning a lot from them. I know in life we learnt a lot but I think ZDDT has improved my leadership very much.
MT: What are some of the challenges that you face as a councillor and how are you tackling them?
CM: Most of the challenges have to do with finances. I would want to develop Mpopoma and Matshobana but finances remain a problem. In my residents meetings I would want to have a PA system so that everyone would hear me clearly but funding remains the problem.
MT: What are some of the challenges faced by residents in your ward and how are you helping them out?
CM: Let me start with the topical one. It is the issue of Davis Granite. Many houses in Mpopoma have cracks and residents are very clear that those houses were cracked by Davis Granite operations.
So residents are coming to me saying councillor may we have maybe some form of compensation. Residents have proof and wholesome evidence that when Davis Granite was operating, their houses would vibrate.
I have been trying as a councillor to engage Davis Granite people but I can say I am not happy with what Davis Granite is saying.
They are saying can residents hire an engineer who is going to come up with a detailed report showing how Davis Granite caused the cracks. Residents do not have money to hire that engineer.
MT: What would be your comment on the ZDDT/BCC partnership? Are you deriving any value from it as Bulawayo councillors?
CM: There is a lot of value in the interaction between BCC and ZDDT. The other advantage is that ZDDT is not fighting councillors unlike other organisations that want to fight councillors.
However, I do not want to mention those other organisations. Where there is fighting there cannot be any development. The approach which is being adopted by ZDDT is that one of building, you know, improving service delivery which is very good for the residents.
MT: What is your understanding of servant leadership as a community leader yourself?
CM: What is very fundamental is to hear the concerns of the residents and try to address them and I think basically that will keep us in office. The moment you are able to respond to their needs, to me I think that is leadership. When they criticise you, don’t worry about responding to the criticisms but address their concerns.
MT: What development plans do you have for your ward this year?
CM: I am looking at the development of the swimming pool this year. That is my plan. I hope with the help I am getting from the council and its staff, around August and September we should be somewhere in terms of resuscitating the swimming pool. It is part of the residents’ concerns which I am addressing.
MT: Thank you so much councillor.
CM: You are welcome.