Uproar over illiterate councillor

Resident from Gwanda town’s ward 1 have slammed the opposition, MDC for seconding an illiterate councillor to represent their community.

According to sources, the councillor, Mkhululi Tshuma allegedly had to step down from chairing the Environment Council Committee after it came to light that he could neither read nor write.

“The councillor had to resign from chairing a council committee which eventually was taken up by a Zanu PF councillor. The ward is situated in a low-density area where most government heads of departments and most professional people and business persons reside,” said a source who requested anonymity.

“Members of the community have also complained that the councillor in question is living in the MDC offices where he is doubling up as a security guard for the party.” Although he could not confirm Tshuma’s illiteracy, Gwanda mayor Jastone Mazhale said the councillor was replaced as Environment committee chair by a Zanu PF councillor, Thulani Ncube.

“I don’t have information about the residents’ complaints, I doubt very much residents have raised such complaints. Yes, he was replaced as committee chair, but it was because we were trying to strike a balance and deal with the issue of political divide. We are trying to deviate from the old culture; when we are now dealing with council issues it ceases to be party business,” he said.

Residents have, however, indicated that they want Tshuma out of council altogether because the Urban Councils Act says a councillor should at least be able to read and write. Ncube was reportedly voted to chair the 10-member Environment committee by four Zanu PF members and two out of six MDC councillors.

Tshuma reportedly stepped down as chair in February and community representatives have since written to the residents’ association and the Mayor about the issue. The residents are also reportedly questioning why the councillor is staying in an MDC office when he is meant to be accessible by all in the ward.

Gwanda Residents Association leader, Bekezela Maduna Fuzwayo confirmed that residents had raised concerns about the councillor’s illiteracy. “The problem is that during elections, people don’t vote for individuals but political parties. At the end of the day it is up to the political parties to provide the rightful candidates. According to the Urban Councils Act a councillor should be able to read and write, he said.

“We will have to stand with the residents on this matter.”

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