Everyday Mrs Nomalanga Ncube (46) of Makokoba high-density suburb in Bulawayo wakes up early to set up her makeshift vending stall along Luveve Road where she sells mobile phone airtime, bananas, cigarettes and maputi to passersby.
Beside her makeshift vending stand, is a stream of raw effluent, the playground of her three children who often accompany her to her stall. For her the pungent smell is a constant reminder of one of the challenges she expects her new MP to address.
“This area has become synonymous with burst sewer pipes. The things we lived through all these years back are just painful to remember.
“We have already been through too many challenges ranging from living in dilapidated structures, unemployment, poverty and lack of proper vending stalls.
“We hope that these new parliamentarians will rescue us from these problems in order to improve our living conditions and standards,” said Mrs Ncube.
Expectations are high among many residents in towns and cities. They hope the new parliamentarians will work to end their problems.
The smelly experience of sewer bursts, erratic water supplies and load shedding are some of the major challenges that have become part and parcel of urbanites.
MPs are expected to fulfil their promises and address the issues of poverty, unemployment, dilapidated public infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, shortage of medication, shortage of learning or teaching materials and inadequate funding for service delivery institutions.
Makokoba National Assembly constituency in which Mrs Ncube lives, has been an MDC-T seat since 2000. The voters elected Mr Gorden Moyo as their MP in last month’s harmonised elections, replacing Ms Thokozani Khupe, another MDC-T official. MDC-T won all constituencies and council wards in Bulawayo.
The party generally did well in towns and cities countrywide and Bulawayo is where it swept all. The British-backed party took the majority of seats in Harare where Zanu-PF won about six constituencies.
Mrs Ncube’s plight echoes that of millions other urban residents.
With the harmonised elections over, President Mugabe inaugurated and Parliament expected to sit for the first time soon, a huge task now lies ahead of the new parliamentarians to serve their constituencies that have suffered a myriad problems.
“We are not certain whether the incoming MPs would deliver to our satisfaction. We need a clinic, funds and a place where we can do self-help projects since we are unemployed,” said Mr Edward Mutenda, of Lobengula suburb.
Political parties and MPs that were in the dysfunctional inclusive Government bickered on anything from civil servants salaries and financing agriculture thereby affecting public welfare.
The disagreements took centre stage in the august house at the expense of constituencies developments.
The MDCs have been accused of stalling development with former Finance Minister Tendai Biti criticised for under funding public service delivery institutions.
“The MDC-T has been in council for the past 13 years and they have nothing to show for it.
“The infrastructure, be it roads, water and sewage reticulation systems have become dilapidated while some people have been turned into squatters due to shortage of accommodation,” said Mr Pardon Moyo, of Luveve 5.
In the 2010 budget, Treasury allocated $8 million for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and each MP received $50 000.
It was however very disheartening to note that there were some dishonest and greedy MPs who lined up their own pockets with the CDF.
Over 100 constituencies out of the total 210 failed to account for the money. Instead of developing their constituencies, some MPs reportedly abused the CDF.
The money was expected to rehabilitate rural and urban roads, poorly equipped schools and finance self–help projects among the unemployed youths.
Zanu-PF, which won the 31 July harmonised elections has committed itself to meeting the promises it made to the electorate. The revolutionary party has announced new measures to ensure that in the new parliament, its legislators would be held accountable and they should provide quarterly reports on their constituencies.
Constituents expect a legal provision to deal with CDF abusers.
The new parliamentarians are also expected to get down to work as soon as they get into their offices. When people elect someone to be their MP, that individual is expected to deliver on the electorate’s wishes.
The electorate expects those elected to be in constant and meaningful touch with the community and spearhead development among other duties.
It is assumed that when MPs get to Parliament, they talk about development projects meant to empower the people. They are also expected to talk about and ensure job creation as a way of improving the people’s welfare.
Others expect the upliftment of women and youths and the provision of affordable housing.
“We expect the new parliamentarians to support and spearhead the Government’s indigenisation and empowerment programmes through establishment of self-help projects and proper vending places to sell our wares,” said Mr Nyasha Mvura of Lobengula.
Residents in New Lobengula need a library, development and equipping of the local clinic in the constituency which they say was not in full operation.
“As part of developing the education sector, we wish to see our MP providing us with a library and books as well as equipping our local clinic. We don’t have a local library as the nearest one is in Luveve and Njube which is too far,” said a Form Three pupil at a local school.
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