Charity Bango – Zimbabwe

Charity Bango – Zimbabwe

Date: May 29, 2012
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I am 53, and a Councillor for the Harare Town Council Ward 41. I come from a very humble background, and finished my secondary education, but fate did not allow me to go beyond that level. I grew up with a burning passion for politics; my whole family setup was dominated by politicians. My father was a politician, and he has been the inspirational force behind my success. He was a senior war veteran, who joined the liberation war of 1962. He was detained, and banned from entering the country. My whole family and I survived without a father, since he wasn’t allowed to visit us. This situation hardened my heart, and gave me the courage that allowed me to enter the political arena.

Harare Town Council Ward 41 is under my jurisdiction. I am responsible for service delivery to seven suburbs that fall under my ward. I work round the block to ensure road maintenance, the availability of clean water, refuse collection, adequate street lighting and sewerage reticulation.

I first met Gender Links in 2009 at the Harare City Council, where it was conducting its local governance research. My second encounter with GL was in Kadoma at a workshop for women empowerment. It was the most memorable one, because it gave me the opportunity to embrace gender equality. The workshop propelled me to the next level of my political life, and since then I am one of those people who cannot stomach missing GL events.

I am now totally committed to promoting women’s interests in the world and Zimbabwe in particular. I will never rest until the nation takes up women’s interests as fundamental. I am currently working very hard mobilising other female leaders to prove their capabilities and leave a good example that can be imitated by the future generations. However, my main goal is to see a realistic change even while operating in an environment with little resources. I have visible projects going on at the moment, and even with minimal resources, I am able to work and realize a positive outcomes.

I’ve organised clean-up campaigns that have seen my community taking a new form. Lack of resources did not prevent me from achieving the set objectives, because I was able to organize voluntary work. The clean-up campaign was done through voluntary labour from community members. My main aim is to see the people who voted me into office living in a clean environment that nurtures their humanity.

As a leader, I’ve encountered so many worst experiences, but I just keep soldiering on until I am victorious. My male counterparts have often sabotaged good ideas that I try and put forward. I’ve even initiated several projects that didn’t see the light of day, as they were interrupted by people who are not comfortable with women occupying decision making positions. The situation gives me the strength to carry on and I am nowhere near losing hope.

Gender Links workshops helped me in attaining valuable skills that are useful in the development of my community. Through working with GL, I’ve managed to turn into a visionary leader who separates politics from developmental issues. I am now able to give unconditional service to everyone despite their different political affiliations. People from other wards usually approach me for help, something which I cannot always do since I am required to contain my duties within the set ward boundaries.

Since I got into office in 2008, I had no idea how the council operated, and with time I gained useful skills through exposure and interaction. The changes that happened in my life and the community at large are attributed to the unconditional service we’ve received from several non-governmental organisations, among them GL. The latter helped me to stop viewing developmental issues in the generalities of the political environment. Besides working with GL, I also give credit to my husband who is very inspirational in my political career. My husband has been offering all the mentoring services that have seen me becoming a councillor.

I am now set to impart the knowledge that I gained through working with GL to the community. As there is a future to live, I look into it with vigour as I have many plans yet to be unveiled. I am planning to keep on working with GL as it has positively changed my values and attitude.



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