Helena Mkosana – Zimbabwe

Helena Mkosana – Zimbabwe

Date: February 27, 2013
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I am the councillor for ward 4 in Mbizo, Kwekwe and also the deputy mayor. My name is Helena Mkosana. My job entails the communication of grievances of the people that I lead, and any other issues that arise within my ward to council and I give feedback on the issues. This is regardless of their political affiliation as I am a people’s person. As deputy mayor, I am taking forward issues for resolution with the management team of council. I am responsible for helping the mayor carry out his duties. I am the most senior of 4 lady councillors in a council of 13.

Prior to my election as councillor in 2008, I had worked as a nurse at Kwekwe City Council for 20 years. I became a councillor because I was brave enough to run for elections given the hostile situation at the time. My confidence gave me the guts to stand for elections. I risked my position as a nurse. Also being a widow, I risked my life and opportunities.

My first encounter with Gender Links (GL) was when they were doing their women in local government research. Other encounters were at the 2010 Regional Summit and at a 2012 Training of Trainers. My responsibilities entail holding ward development meetings, since I chair the ward development committee. People tell me their concerns and I report these to council. I am constantly encouraging women to undertake Local Economic Development (LED) initiatives like poultry projects so that they are able to sustain themselves. This has seen a lot of women excelling. The mere fact that I have good relationships with the community has enabled me to bring about changes in the community. My ability to communicate with council management and fellow councillors has also seen me being able to transform my community. Other help has also come from the church, the media, police and other stakeholders in the community.

The life of a politician is never a rosy one as many a people might imagine. This does not mean, however, that there are times we celebrate successes and achievements. My life as a politician is filled with many such memories. My most memorable experience as a politician was when GL invited me to one of their workshops. I had never been to a hotel and was never used to the idea of hotel life. However, at this forum, I met a lot of influential figures and I could not believe that a woman of my stature could be this important. Through all this I learnt that it was my prerogative to be well versed in current affairs. Thus I began to read more on current events. In the process I also learnt to humble myself. I acknowledged that some people have a lot of information to share, no matter how small they may seem or look. We should all learn from other people.

My worst ever experience as a councillor was in 2009 during the so called “dollarization” era. The financial constraints I met were big. As you might know the sitting allowances one gets as a councillor is not much, compared to what I would have earned had I still been a nurse. A lot of people did not appreciate the fact that I was the deputy mayor. There was a lot of hearsay in the community, but I soldiered on.

I would like to credit GL for the changes that are occurring in my life and in my community. I learnt to communicate with people. GL taught me to speak out about issues affecting individuals in their households and how to approach and handle such issues. Other organisations worthy of this credit is Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU). They taught me that as female politicians we should be exemplary. The church has also helped me. My role models i.e. Amai Joyce Mujuru, the vice president of Zimbabwe, Thokozane Khupe, the Deputy Prime Minister and other lady MPs like Olivia Muchena and Theresa Makone. They have been an inspiration. If other women can do it, why can’t I?

I believe that it is my ultimate responsibility to bring about change in the lives of men and women, because I trust that men did not respect me when I got into office. Now I have gathered enough guts to make them change their behaviour. In the case of women, by virtue of seeing my successes, my hope is that they will be inspired as I must help even more women become role models.
In the future, I am aiming to become more than just a Deputy mayor. I would like to thank GL for this interview; I hope women in Zimbabwe overcome their fears.


One thought on “Helena Mkosana – Zimbabwe”

michael munetsi says:

The unfortunate thing is once her term as the deputy mayor and Councillor ended so did her high profile that she had created.One wonders why organisations like gender links stop following up on such people and keep them in check and also use their brave and fearless potential to continue with the seeds they will have sown.

From deputy mayor back to state registered nurse,this demotivates considering the impact of psychological implications these changes have on an individual.In the end its defeats the same social ills she has stood against in her life.Is there empowerment of a woman in this regard?

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