'Madhuku' — arrested 18 times but still standing

HARARE - As the country hurtles towards the general election next month, aspiring candidates from across the political divide have started canvassing for votes — promising the electorate development and sometimes heaven on earth.

The Daily News on Sunday’s Mugove Tafirenyika (Q) spoke to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) aspiring councillor for ward 16 in Harare West constituency Denford Ngadziore aka Madhuku (A) who was among the original members of the group Tajamuka and has been arrested 18 time since.

Q: Most people know you as Madhuku, the Tajamuka activist but now we hear you are running for public office. Who are you?

A: I was born Denford Ngadziore in Chipinge on 26 October 1984. I did my primary education at Ngaone Primary and Secondary schools.

I went on to do one year of youth leadership training with Fredrick Ebert Stiff Tung FES in 2012-2013.

I later enrolled at the Zimbabwe Institute of Diplomacy ZID for a Diploma in Diplomacy and International Relations.

This year I hope to enroll at the MSU Harare campus for a Local Government degree.

Q: And your connection with Tajamuka.

A: I am one of the key founding members of Tajamuka/Sesijikile campaign which was instrumental in 2016 and 2017 protests against (former president) Robert Mugabe government.

I have been arrested a record 18 times since I started my activism in 2001.

My arrests were during NCA, MDC and Tajamuka/Sesijikile engagements.

I am the current MDC Harare Province youth secretary so political activism is my calling. It is in my DNA.

In 2008, I participated in MDC primaries in ward 16 but the party reserved the seat to the late councillor Lancelot Sunshine Mudavanhu as a deliberate policy to ensure participation and representation of persons with disabilities.

In 2013, I contested again in MDC primaries against Mudavanhu and I narrowly lost having managed got 93 votes against 96.

By then I was holding a junior position in the party but now am now a member of MDC national council by virtue of my position as Harare Province youth secretary.

I have been preparing for this public office as a councillor since 2008 up to date.

Q: The MDC has been running almost all urban local authorities countrywide since the party’s formation sin 1999 amid criticism that it has presided over poor service delivery over the years. Will that not affect your bid to be councillor?

A: Eleanor Roosevelt once said; “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” 

I therefore choose to dream and to believe in the beauty of my dreams.

I dream development and therefore pledge to advance the MDC Alliance agenda to achieve good service delivery in the cities and true representation of residents’ needs.

Q: But do you think you have a full appreciation of the needs of the residents in Mabelreign to deliver service to their satisfaction

A: Mabelreign is the central administration of ward 16 and it historically draws its name from Miss Mabel Mann a fiancée to a surveyor named Swatheral in the 1890s.

The ward has an estimate of 12 000 households and 50 000 people.

Suburbs in ward 16 include part of high density suburb of Westlea, Ashdon Park area with house owners mostly pensioners.

The Mabelreign suburb has green ways and was planned in a unique way to suit both urban and rural dwellers.

It later extended to other suburbs of Ashdon Park, Greencroft, Coltswold Hills, St Andrews Park, Zambezi flats, Haig Park, Meyrick Park, Matidoda, Sentosa, Westlea West, Nkwisi Gardens, Bloomingdale, Sunridge, Sanganai Inn and later Maranatha and Madokero village.

It shall be my duty to advance and protect the dignity and well-being of residents in all these areas.

Q: How do you hope to do it?

A: This shall be anchored upon the vision of inclusive leadership in local authorities while fighting corruption in order to improve service delivery.

During my five years of public service in the local authority I commit myself to transparency and accountability.

I am committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in the process of discharging my duties.

I shall continually engage ward residents on all relevant matters by having regular scheduled report back meetings.

I will push for openness in administration of public funds so that the anomaly of yesteryear Auditor-General’s Reports for City of Harare will be corrected.

I also commit myself to ensuring that we attain an inclusive, modern and successful ward where everyone’s voice matters.

I will serve everyone in the ward taking special care of special interest groups such as those persons living with disabilities.

Q: The MDC councillors who have served this and other wards in Harare have been accused of unprofessionalism and unbridled corruption. Are you not cut from the same cloth?

A: I commit to professionally execute my duties and show Hararians that the MDC as an institution is not corrupt but some individuals might be.

I will do everything above board and with the utmost sincerity.

My term of office will be characterised by addressing issues that have had a negative impact on the livelihoods of women, youths and persons living with disabilities.
They are often marginalised but that will be a thing of the past in my ward.

The informal sector and SMEs’ challenges will be a key priority if I am elected.

We cannot continue to see vendors as a problem but rather an economic activity that if well nurtured and granted adequate attention can change lives of many people.

You may want to know that I am currently Residents Forum (RF) coordinator.

RF is an organisation that advocates for better service delivery.

Q: It is often claimed that politicians are in it for money not service delivery. What have you to say about that claim?

A: Deteriorating of service delivery through negligence by council officials made me to run as a councillor in Ward 16 of Harare West.

Arbitrary water disconnections, depletion of wetlands, poor quality of water, informal economy issues, continuous corruption, abuse of public resources and tender-preneurship and other social-economic-political ills pushed me to run as a councillor.

I am an experienced person on residents’ issues through my work as Residents Forum Coordinator.

Work at RF made me appreciate real challenges faced by residents.

The desire to move beyond sloganeering and have issues-driven elections as well as framing an accountability pact to prospective voters made me frame a manifesto.
Interactions with residents birthed issues in my election manifesto.

It is my commitment, my pledge to residents that during my five years of service, I will address these concerns.

It will be used as an evaluation tool to say have you pushed what you committed to do at the end of five-year-term.

Q: How has been the response by residents of ward 16?

A: The majority of Ward 16 residents represent middle class people therefore majority of people will not be able to come to our meetings and rallies.

Their response depends on how they view my vision enunciated in the manifesto as a solution matrix to challenges they are facing.

This is a peoples’ manifesto and they have accepted their issues and the solution matrix as envisaged in the manifesto.

I might not have indicators to measure the overall response but people I have interacted with have said you have a clear plan and sound vision for transforming Mabelreign.

This time I am more prepared than before therefore I expect a resounding victory

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