Alex Mandigo – Chegutu Municipality

Alex Mandigo – Chegutu Municipality

Date: July 1, 2015
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My name is Alex Mandigo, the Town Clerk for Chegutu Municipality, Zimbabwe, and I am making sure that the notion that “gender is employed” is taken seriously in my council. Gender is a critical component of the municipality’s activities and programmes.

As the Town Clerk, I am in charge of the day-to-day running of council activities. I see to it that the council is managed properly. I am “The Boss,” in charge of close to 300 employees. Their mandate is to provide services to the town of Chegutu.

Before taking up the Town Clerk position, I was a primary school teacher for 20 years. I later became the Assistant District Administrator for Mashonaland West from 2004 to2005.
In 2009, I met Priscilla Maposa, Gender Links (GL) Zimbabwe Country Manager, at a Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZiLGA) meeting.

After Maposa explained some of the work and activities of GL, we managed to bring GL on board in the Chegutu Municipality. We held several workshops on gender mainstreaming together. In 2012, I was chosen as one of the judges for the Zimbabwe Gender Justice and Local Government Summit (GJLGS).

Through my experience with GL, a number of things have changed in my persona. My attitude towards women, whom I had previously viewed as second-class citizens, has changed as a result of the GL workshops I’ve attended.

I have come to realise that women are more than able to deliver-even more than their male counterparts. I have noted that women are more honest and hardworking, so men should help to instil confidence in them. If women are provided with a supportive enabling environment, they will perform as much as men, if not better.

GL has helped to empower both women and men in the Chegutu Council. The few women in the council now know their rights. Participation of women has increased as they have been inspired to take up challenging positions. Chegutu Council now has a female Town Clerk.

Our parent ministry, the Ministry of Local Government, Urban & Rural Development (MLGURD), has embraced gender mainstreaming and it has instructed every council to take on board gender mainstreaming for gender equality in planning and programme implementation.

In my work as the Town Clerk, I interact with many stakeholders and I am known for supporting issues that seek to redress the power imbalances that exist between men and women. I make sure that female employees and councillors participate in women-related professional development programs and I will continue to use my position to help others maintain a positive outlook on gender. I want my institution to be an example of the changes brought about because of GL. We will make sure that women are not just upgraded, but are upgraded based on merit.

My wish is that as a council, we take a giant leap forward. We need to continue talking about gender and more importantly, take deliberate action to implement the gender policies and plans at all of our political levels: community, regional and national.

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