Poor service delivery by councils and the government were at the centre of a recently held by-elections debate pitting Susan Matsunga (CCC), Rodwell Shambauto (MDC Alliance) and Taurai Marembo (ZANU PF) candidates for the Mufakose Constituency
The debate convened by election watchdog, Election Resource Centre opened a pandora’s box on poor service delivery that citizens have been experiencing over years from government and council’s poor policies.
Candidates offered optimistic projections about how they will contribute to alleviating the service delivery issues faced by Mufakose residents, with Shambauto (MDC Alliance) providing unclear yet optimistic aims of holding the Minister of Local Government accountable for service delivery.
Matsunga (CCC) and Marembo (ZANU PF) provided more pragmatic solutions, with Matsunga (CCC) stating that the only sustainable solution comes from addressing the leadership crisis in the Executive.
SUSAN MATSUNGA (CITIZENS COALITION FOR CHANGE)
Susan Matsunga representing the CCC dominated the Mufakose debate. Matsunga spoke with passion, but most importantly, proved she could take the fight as the incumbent and frontrunner.
Matsunga landed the punches she came in to deliver, calling out the MDC Alliance for contributing to the service delivery decline faced by Mufakose due to the unnecessary politically motivated recalls of Councillors in the constituency.
She cast doubt on the electability of her contestants Shambauto and Marembo, targeting their ties to MDC Alliance and ZANU PF respectively.
RODWELL SHAMBAUTO (MDC ALLIANCE)
The MDC Alliance candidate started off shakily, as he jumbled his sentences most notably Shambauto’s failure to name the Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises Sithembiso Nyoni, rather calling her, “Minister of What What”.
While Shambauto seemingly absorbed the expected attacks from other candidates, he just didn’t have the charisma to make an impression.
TAURAI MAREMBO (ZANU PF)
Taurai Marembo representing ZANU PF was passionate and eloquent in his submissions.
More substantively, the candidate was strongest and most comfortable on the issues that the debate focused on namely, addressing the socio-economic conditions in Mufakose and the legislative agenda following the by-election.
Marembo politically manoeuvred around his association with ZANU PF. Rather than political grandstanding, he presented an economic vision separate from the economic rhetoric commonly associated with ZANU PF if elected into office.
There is growing interest, more than ever in issues related to democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe, with the role of Parliament in the spotlight following the recalls, its role in the controversial assenting of the Constitutional Amendment No 2 and its oversight role in the general socio-economic and political decline of Zimbabwe.
On the downside, the participants failed to clearly articulate the role of parliament in their submissions conflating the legislative role of parliament and that of local government.
While participants broadly knew of the key functions of legislation, namely representation and oversight with Matsunga (CCC) performing moderately well, Marembo (ZANU PF) and Shambauto (MDC Alliance) actively failed to engage in how this Parliamentary role will be used in development and implementation of laws, policies and practices that promote democracy and good governance.