Zimbabwe: Charles Juta

Date: September 13, 2019
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The leadership traits started showing in my life at a very early stage. In high school I was school captain and volleyball captain. In college I was the School Representative Council (SRC) president. I once served as the chairman at our church parish. In politics, I was the local chairman and later became the district secretary. My best moment was when I won the 2018 elections as a councilor by a very wide margin.

When I became the councilor I set personal goals which I intend to achieve that is, influencing males in my community, observe gender equality and treat women equally. As a councilor my role is to represent Ward 7 community in council. I am also responsible for giving feedback to community on decisions passed by council. I am also at the forefront of coordinating ward programmes like food for work and nutritional gardens. I directly involved in food programmes and I also provide counseling services where there is need for instance, Gender Based Violence (GBV) issues, misunderstandings between parents and youths and other negative experiences.

In conducting my duties I faced an array of challenges ranging from resistance from men who believe they cannot be equal to women, trying to change an oppressive culture which is in favour of men to unfair position of women in society.

The effort that I invested in my work was not in vain as it produced tangible changes. At personal level I no longer consider women’s leadership as a threat and I even voted for a woman to become our mayor. I have advocated for a female chairperson in our church and in the ward that I represent.

My wife Harriet Juta noticed the change and she stated that “I am glad that my husband is now allowing me to make decisions on family matters.” My children now share all household duties equally despite nature of work. There is no longer work for boys or for girls. I now involve them both in decision making be it a boy or a girl. My daughter wants expressed her happiness after noticing the change and she said “Daddy you now consider and take seriously my contributions.”

The change did not end at personal level because it also impacted the community positively. “I am very thankful to the encouragement I got from Cllr. Juta with regards to me standing up for political nomination to being a councilor and later own being a Mayor.” – Angeline Kasipo Kwekwe City Council Mayor.

Kwekwe City Council is now strict on issues of gender in educational development of the employees. Equal number of women and men are now being given the opportunity to the council educational loan facility. To support this, Kwekwe City Council Administrator Chido Munesu said “I am thankful to the help that I got from Cllr Juta to upgrade my profession I am currently studying Local Governance with Midlands State University (MSU).

I have involved people in my community in several workshops that involves leadership qualities and awareness on gender equality. I have also personally attended numerous capacity building workshops. I also learnt more in leadership qualities, how to communicate effectively and produce better results. People also learnt the importance of community and group participation. Going forward, I am going to create more capacity building workshops and involve community members in developmental projects. The aim is for the community to eventually appreciate the importance of building and creating a better community through working together.