Bulawayo - Sheila Musonda, one of the eight female councillors in the male-dominated Bulawayo City Council (BCC), says she was driven by the desire to work for residents, when she contested the 2013 polls, which landed her the Ward 8 Council seat.
BCC has a total of 29 Council seats.
Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT), which is involved in a number of programmes aimed at capacitating city fathers to deliver on their mandate, recently caught up with Musonda at her office in Mzilikazi Township.
ZDDT undertook a variety of training sessions for both Bulawayo and Gweru councillors when they came into office in 2013 in an endeavour to introduce them to the responsibilities of policy making and exemplary leadership as part of their new mandate.
Musonda’s Ward 8 covers Thorngrove, Nguboyenja, Burombo, Barbour Fields and Mzilikazi townships.
“I wanted to work for residents and that is why I contested as a councillor,” Musonda told ZDDT News.
“As a woman, I realized there were so many challenges peculiar to women, so I really wanted to assist them as well.
Musonda, who said she enjoys the support she is getting from residents in her community, challenged other women to arise and take up leadership positions.
She said women better understand challenges facing communities as they are the ones who bear the burden of raising children.
Born in Makokoba on the 13 th of December in 1951, Musonda did her primary education at Lobengula Primary and later attended Sobukhazi High School both in Mzilikazi.
Having worked at different places including Bulawayo’s industrial site, Musonda later joined Mpilo hospital in 1979 and retired in 2013.
The outspoken Musonda said she works closely with residents in her community, helping them address their challenges, adding she now better understands them and their needs.
“In Ward 8, we need more boreholes because the ones that we have are very few,” she explained.
“Residents want to grow vegetables. My ward is dominated by the elderly, so we wish that they get gardens which can help them earn a living.”
Almost completing her five-year term as a councillor, Musonda said over the years she had learnt a lot about leadership.
“I have learnt that, as a councillor, I must welcome everyone and must also be very humble,” she said.
“This is so because everyone will be looking up to you. A councillor is below the people and is a servant of all; people are above the councillor.”
Servant leadership is key to the fundamentals of ZDDT’s on-going leadership training programme.
Musonda said despite the economic hardships in Zimbabwe, she continues to encourage residents to honour their obligations to BCC such clearing water bills to avoid disconnections.
Musonda added that those facing financial challenges should approach Council with payment plans.
Timeous payment of bills helps the local authority to deliver better services to its residents.