Alex Mandigo – Zimbabwe

Alex Mandigo – Zimbabwe

Date: July 1, 2015
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I am the man sitting at the helm of all decision making in council. My name is Alex Mandigo, the Town Clerk for Chegutu Municipality. I have taken seriously the notion that gender is integrated in my council. As 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 as I am the overall accounting body. I am the “top man,” in charge of close to 300 employees whose mandate is to provide services to the town of Chegutu. Before my occupation as a Town Clerk I was a Primary School teacher for 20 years, before becoming an Assistant District Administrator for Mashonaland West from 2004-2005.

I first met with Priscilla Maposa in 2009, at a Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZiLGA) meeting. There she explained to me about the work of Gender Links, even giving me organisational pamphlets. I immediately developed a keen interest. Since then, meetings with GL have been abundant, with my council holding several workshops with GL. Most recently, I was a judge at 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 and outlook towards women has changed completely. In the past, I viewed women as second-class citizens whose capabilities in undertaking male dominated duties I doubted. This has changed because of the awareness GL has brought to me. I have realised that women are more than able to deliver, even more than their male counterparts are. Actually, I have seen that women are more honest and hardworking if we men instill in them the confidence. Actually, if women are given an enabling environment, support and confidence they will perform as much as men do if not better.

You may want to know why I have changed to be like this, I suppose? There is no doubt that the awareness that has been brought about by GL has been a major contributing factor. It has made me see the necessity for change in attitudes and perceptions. I have also noticed that in developed nations, where women have been given opportunities, they have done well. I wish that every woman might be given such opportunity. GL has brought to light issues about women that we as men have taken for granted for a long time. The way people have viewed women is not correct. Many a time you hear people exclaim, “Do not behave like a woman” or “Anoshanda semurume” (She works like a man). This is clearly not fair, as women deserve the credit that is due to them.

It is the education by GL that has made the transformation in me a possibility and I want to give them the thumbs-up for that. Working with Priscilla Maposa has been one of the best things to have happened to me. She is one of a kind, dedicated and willing to ask when she has challenges. When it comes to doing her work, she is the best. She has been the person who initiated transformation in my life. She makes constant and regular follow-ups on programs.

In working with GL, I have gathered many skills. Particularly valuable has been a shift in the ways in which I approach certain issues and subjects. I have developed a unique perspective on every one of them, whether at home or professionally. This is all GL. GL has capacitated our women. The few women in my council now know their rights. Participation from them has increased from a level that was hardly in existence at all. Besides GL, I have been inspired by some women who have taken challenging positions. We never had a female Town Clerk, now there is one. What other inspiration could one want? Let us support these people. Over and above, the Ministry of Local Government, Urban & Rural Development (MLGURD) has embraced gender issues. The mere fact that government supports such initiatives galvanised me to react in the manner in which I did.

In my work as Town Clerk, I interact with many stakeholders, and I have come to be known for supporting issues that seek to redress the imbalances existing between men and women. I have initiated and facilitated female employees and councillors’ attendance to various women-related programs, and I will continue to use my position to make people have a positive look on gender. I want my institution to be an example of the changes brought about GL. We will make sure that women are just not upgraded, but are upgraded because they have the merits.

Finally, I would like to see GL grow from strength to strength. My wish is that they diversify and do not just talk about woman’s rights. Please embark on projects that will empower women permanently. We need more sustainable programmes with roots in emancipating the young generation. “If you catch them young the better”.



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