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Bulawayo's Councillor of The Month: Cllr Israel Mabaleka: A Servant Leader Par Excellence
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 18:13 Written by Ntando Sibanda, ZDDT News Correspondent Wednesday, 15 February 2012 17:42Bulawayo, Zimbabwe: Democracy is premised on the principle of the people’s representative playing a pivotal role in serving their electorate effectively by constantly consulting the public and bringing feedback on the proceedings of governing institutions.
Such is the leadership of Cllr Israel Mabaleka with which the people of Ward 15 (Luveve) and 16 (Gwabalanda) are blessed.
At age 70, Cllr Mabaleka is the only Councillor in the city to represent two wards, after the untimely passing on of Ward 16 Councillor, Cllr Solomon Ncube.
The people of Ward 15 elected him to the Local Authority (LA) seat with confidence, as he has lived all his life in this constituency, positively interacting with them. After being born at the then Old Memorial Hospital (Mpilo Hospital), he completed his primary education in Losikeyi Primary School, Ward 8, before proceeding to Thekwani High School in 1961.
The aspect of Servant Leadership, which is one of the core values and principles driven by ZDDT, is not a new theme to Cllr Mabaleka, as he served in the national police force from 1964 to 1970.
More knowledge on this invaluable phenomenon of democracy was impressed upon him during his professional career at Super Sonic Radio Ltd and Dunlop Tyres, where he rose to the level of Production Superintendant at both companies.
Having been first elected into office in the 2003 elections, Cllr Mabaleka is serving his second term as Councillor, which makes him one of the senior legislators in the city’s governing body. Due to his vast experience as a Councillor and professional, he has managed to propel the wards under his administration to significant levels of development, self empowerment and community restoration.
Cllr Mabaleka is the master of order, as is evidenced by the cleanliness of his office and the orderly filing system that he uses to keep his records updated for easy access by him and anyone who so wishes to utilise them. Every committee in the two wards has a record that is carefully and well kept for reference purposes, a scenario that promotes transparency and accountability.
This is again in line with the Trust’s objectives of promoting transparency to enable the smooth flow of all democratic practices from and to grassroots level. ZDDT has, in the past, held numerous workshops with the local legislators to encourage them to grasp this vital concept.
In return for his selfless commitment and leadership to his community, Cllr Mabaleka’s unrelenting efforts were last year recognised by Civil Society Organisations that termed him the “Best Councillor of the Year.”
“I work with a number of NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) and they approached me to tell me that I am he Best Councillor of the Year. They are all keen to work with me as they say that we are doing a great job here in Wards 15 and 16,” he said.
In his correspondence and alliance with ZDDT, Cllr Mabaleka has shown great courage, selflessness and determination in ensuring that there is continuous development in his wards. In April last year, one of the wards (Ward 15) under his jurisdiction received and award for outclassing other wards in the Trust’s Urban Greening Initiative.
The Urban Greening Initiative comprises the planting of trees in the city to fend off deforestation. It is one of the numerous programmes that ZDDT has launched in its quest to introduce and nurture the Sebenzela/self help concept, to the people. This development model is one of the Trust’s core principles and will raise self confidence in the people in order for them to fully utilise their abilities and exploit the strength they wield in the spirit of working as a community or collective unit.
“I have worked very well with ZDDT from the onset. Gentleman; ZDDT could not have come at a better time.They are doing so well these people. I wish that who so ever funds them continues to do so because they are empowering Councillors by training them and giving them lectures on how to become better leaders. To the residents, they are coming up with programmes that are making the residents feel proud. They give us seed for our gardens, tools to work when cleaning our community and so forth. I want to work even more closely with them because they want improvement of our communities. What stands out about ZDDT is that they work directly with the communities and Councillors,” he said.
In ensuring that he keeps his constituents updated, and thus involved in the democratic process, Cllr Mabaleka holds meetings with them, on a monthly basis, at the Beit Hall in Luveve. In these conventions, community members air they concerns to the Councillor and he records everything, which he then presents to Council Chambers for discussion. He also gives them feed back on issues that would have been previously raised so that they are all on the same wave length.
This is also in the same vein with ZDDT’s principle of Servant Leadership, which seeks to empower both the community leaders and community members by actively involving them in all decision making processes. This code of conduct also assists in bridging the relationship between the constituents and their representatives.
The retiree has nothing but praise and respect for his constituents and attributes the success of the two wards to them. He says that they are very supportive in everything and they always come out in large numbers to execute any duties that may arise to enforce the development of their community.
“They are lucky to have me as a Councillor but most of all, I am very lucky to have them as my constituents because of the never-ending support they offer to me,” he said.
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