Harare East – She is the brains behind the sassy Ama Zim Zim t-shirts and the woman who turns your everyday corn into popcorn.
Her interests are varied, her achievements set her apart and after July 30 she hopes to become the Member of Parliament (MP) for Harare East. Running on an independent ticket, Linda Sibanyoni is the only woman in the Constituency contesting against seasoned politicians – the likes of Tendai Biti of the MDC Alliance and MDC’s Obert Gutu.
“The competition raises the level of the electoral contest. It’s an exciting journey and my opponents are seasoned politicians whom I respect. I’m running against brilliant lawyers and business people and I’m running to win it,” said an exuberant Sibanyoni.
She is one of the youngest parliamentary candidates determined to bring about change and set Zimbabwe on course for rehabilitation.
“My mission in Harare East is to influence policies. There has been confusion between the roles of council and parliament. While parliamentarians exercise legislative oversight and craft laws, councillors have the task of overseeing that service provision is carried out efficiently and that council runs flawlessly. But, there is an overlap which is why people must be educated on the importance of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) provided to MPs.”
“This is why MPs and councillors must work closely and ensure that each Constituency or every Ward gets equal attention in terms of service delivery and infrastructural development. There is need for technocrats and council to find out why we have perennial water problems,” said Sibanyoni.
She added that according to the last census Harare East had 50 000 people. Of those, 37 816 of them were registered voters. At the edge of Ward 9 in her Constituency is Manressa and Chikurubi areas that are served by the one clinic in Greendale. The clinic is put under even more pressure by the population from Caledonia Farm which is under Goromonzi Constituency, who also rely on it.
“The clinic gets basic drugs – the usual painkillers. It can only handle light ailments and provides immunisation and booster shots for babies. The clinic is overwhelmed. We have no hospital. We need a bigger library than the one we have so that we could have an ICT and creative hub. The library could even share space with the post office,” she suggested.
Sibanyoni said Harare East had an operational public swimming pool, a fire station and parks.
“We have little council parks but swings at the parks have been vandalised. The park in Ballantine Park is still functional but most infrastructure has been affected by lack of maintenance,” she said.
The aspiring MP blamed the lack of respect of public property on the way some people were raised.
“People tend to keep and practice the values instilled in them by their parents. If you were taught to respect property and to keep it well maintained, you are most likely to continue doing that in adult life. If being responsible was drummed into you, you are likely to project it onto your community,” she said.
On how her campaign was going, she said she had been humbled by the people in Harare East who had welcomed her into their homes and had, had meaningful discussions with her. She said her campaign was self-funded and she had a small budget but had so far managed to work within that budget. She also said some people in her Constituency had donated towards her campaign in cash and kind.
“I’m running a green campaign and will be putting up a limited number of posters. In keeping with my green campaign, I will not be producing pamphlets or sticking them into people’s letter boxes. I’m personally engaging people and my campaign emphasises the fact that power resides in the citizens and public officials are servants who should serve the people. We are equal shareholders of Harare East and on July 30 people must vote for whoever makes sense to them,” said Sibanyoni.
About the author:
This article was written by journalist, blogger and published author, Grace Mutandwa. It was first published on Zimbabwe’s Election portal, VoteWatch263. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinion or views expressed on this platform are those of the contributing Authors or organisation . They do not necessarily reflect the views and policies or the position of Gender and Media Connect.