Councillor fights prostitution, drugs in St Mary's

HARARE - Life in Chitungwiza’s St Mary’s suburb has previously been described as ‘‘something stranger than fiction’’ for having people who care the least for a better life.

The suburb, characterised by high school drop-outs, is infamous for its rampant abuse of mbanje and sex workers always inviting passers-by for sex at any time of the day.

While some would like to view prostitution as a profession, ward three councillor responsible for St Mary’s, John Matiyenga, does not share the same opinion as he wants women to do away with the oldest profession in that suburb.

Matiyenga is determined to restore St Mary’s reputation by weeding out prostitution and stop drug abuse in that area.

Barely three months in office, he has wasted no time as he hit the ground running with a number of developmental initiatives following his election during this year’s harmonised elections.

Matiyenga, who has used personal funds to run several projects in St Mary’s is working on different other programmes that include the replacement of worn out water pipes and the purchase of litter bins for every household.

Matiyenga has since been made a deposit with a local plastic manufacturing company to supply the another consignment of bins.

The councillor would like to engage the ladies of the night and youths abusing drugs in incoming generating projects.

“Prostitution is widespread in this ward, so we want to put an end to that. I have since engaged some women and asked them to put their names forward to be considered for these upcoming projects,” he said.

So far, Matiyenga said quite a number of people have expressed interest in participating in the initiatives that are intended to help them keep a distance from prostitution and drug abuse.

“The response has been overwhelming as even youths that use drugs came forward. I’m confident that once we embark on these projects we will be able to realise our goal of getting them off the streets,” Matiyenga added.

“Although it is going to be a long process I believe it’s going to work out well.”

This comes months after sex workers were awarded the opportunity to exhibit for the first time at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) after being barred from participating in previous years. Several organisations including Women Against All Forms of Discrimination (WAAFD), Zimbabwe Aids Network (Zan), Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) and the National Aids Council (Nac) were behind sex workers as they educated people about their trade.

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