Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
WITH the majority of local authorities having concluded the swearing-in of councillors last week, the City of Kwekwe has stood out by electing the only female mayor so far in the country.
In the previous term, Kwekwe had one of the most controversial characters as mayor, Councillor Matenda Madzoke who rose to fame for refusing an official mayoral vehicle, opting to ride a bicycle to work. He believed the money for a mayoral vehicle should be channelled towards service delivery.
But away from the controversy, the city of Kwekwe has broken yet another record by electing Ward 10 Councillor Angeline Kasipo to the mayoral position. As consolation, Clr Shadreck Tobaiwa, who was mayor from 2008 to 2013, was refused a second bite of the cherry but was elected deputy mayor. In a wide-ranging interview, the new mayor said she was ready to prove that women were also capable of taking such challenges.
“I am not under any pressure at all, if anything I am ready for the task. I am raring to go and to work. I believe in teamwork and working together we will achieve the intended results,” she affirmed.
But who is Angeline Kasipo?
“I am a mother, a wife and a businesswoman in my own right. Before I became mayor, I was a member of the National Council of Social Workers. I resigned from the post lately to concentrate fully on the mayoral post,” she said.
Clr Kasipo is a qualified social worker. She, together with her husband, operates a number of events gardens around the city under the banner Khayalethu Events Gardens. The couple is blessed with four children.
“All my children are now grown up and most of them are already working while the last born is doing her A-level.” That’s how far she could be drawn into discussing her family.
Clr Kasipo joined MDC-T in 2010 and has held several positions in the party’s women’s league in the province.
The 2018 harmonised elections provided her with an opportunity to run for a public office for the first time under MDC-Alliance. She took over Ward 10 from embattled former councillor Aaron Gwalazimba also from the same party.
“At first I was shocked by the trust my colleagues had in me to become mayor but I had to accept the challenge. I also feel this will go a long way in motivating young girls and other women that they can also do it, not only in political circles but in any sphere,” she said.
Going forward, Clr Kasipo said it was no longer business as usual as she seeks to improve service delivery in the city which she claims had been run down by the previous council leaders.
“I respect the former mayor but they were found wanting in most aspects. You find that in most areas in Kwekwe there has not been running water for months. Refuse collection especially in the CBD area, was no longer being carried out and we want to rectify all that,” she said.
On the controversial issue of vendors, Clr Kasipo said vendors would remain on the street until they find an alternative place for them to operate from. Politics should be put aside, she said, and development should take precedence.
“I want to build a team that will not be on party lines, a team that will be able to deliver. We want to be able to go back to the people who voted us into power, consult them say once a year or so and do things accordingly,” she said.