By Delight Mutale
Today I hold all the Councillors country wide in high esteem with respect and solidarity.
You are the spine of any country or political party. You hold the grassroots, you hold the people, you secure the votes, you suffer with the people and you sacrifice your own little resources for the people but you are the most disrespected, ridiculed, sidelined and underpaid in the chain of politics.
They will tell you almost all the bad and degrading even good things that Councillors do and but they never tell you this part, ‘What Councillors go through.’
Mostly as a Councillor especially in the rural area, Your day starts at 4am with loud knocks on the door that someone has died or someone is giving birth in the bush so because the last person you attended to left your house at 12pm you either choose to come out of the house with a grin or a welcoming smile because you did not have enough sleep.
Sometimes you have a youth knocking at 5am looking for a K10 so that he can use for drinking beer that day and when you try to advise him, you become a bad and selfish Councilor.
So you sacrifice your savings for a project in your ward, one that can benefit all the people, then you have some headman, some individuals even community leaders trashing your effort because according to them you should have used the money on them and their families.
So you sit and wonder if what you did was right or wrong to deserve such animosity from those you consider community leaders.
Then you sacrifice your family over your people, you spend the last coin not on your children but on your people as your children quietly sleep hungry or eat the same kind of food.
If you are a female Councillor you choose to sacrifice your husband or the love of your life for your people and the love dies out as your serve them diligently and miss out on having your own family or home.
And if you are a male Councillor you sacrifice your wife and children and sometimes resort to infidelity and alcoholism due to stress and when it’s evening you watch your people gather their children and families and sleep in a house full of love and laughter while you creep alone in the cold bed, then then you wonder if it worth it.
You decide to send some money to your parents who gave birth to you and natured you but a knock disturbs everything someone is dead, ‘Ba Councillor’ so you buy the coffin, food and provide transport for the funeral.
As you give the funeral speech you cry silently for your parents, brothers and relatives who are languishing and sleeping hungry, most of the parents and relatives to Councillors look neglected because the Councillor decided to give the last coin to the people and not to his parents.
So they call you slow and not working because the roads that have never been worked on from 1964 are so bad.
Then you explain to them that the council does not have the equipment or the resolution has not been passed yet, oh they do not understand that because maybe they have little or no education so you sometimes use your own savings to patch up the very bad parts of the road even this effort is thrown in the trash bin.
That morning you discover through your intelligence as they bring records and recordings to you, with shock you close your mouth at the insults and ugly words being said about you.
This is because the person speaking in the recording is the one whose child just died yesterday and you provided them with all the funeral requirements, the woman speaking evil is the one you gave capital yesterday for her business, wait a minute, the youths busy spreading hate are the ones you gave a popcorn machine and some capital to boost their business.
The grandmother cursing you is the one whose six grandchildren you took under your wing and sponsored their education, the church management complaining and proclaiming bad about you, is the one you just donated chairs too so that their members do not sit on stones during the church service.
The farmer who curses day in day out about you as a Councillor is the one you gave farming inputs the other day for his field to be that productive, the community that says you are not their Councillor is the one whose houses fell down due to floods and through your initiatives you helped them re-build their houses as you sorted for tents for them.
But again isn’t that the woman you carried in your car while she was giving birth in the bush early that morning why is she insulting you today as Councillor? Then you wonder.
So you open your WhatsApp social media platform and realise that your own political party members who are supposed to encourage you and mentor you as a product of the party are in the forefront insulting and calling for disciplinary action for a rumour they saw on social media.
As such you wait for any of them to call you and ask where you stand amidst that rumour but they are all quiet after you give a statement.
You do not see the good news being shared in the WhatsApp group of what you do but only bad news. Then you wonder.
So you climb mountains and even cross crocodile infested rivers so that you reach the people on the other side and after offering that service you are called an absent Councillor not working.
That day you wake up in the morning and find strange things put at your door step or yard. So you just burn them.
If you are a Christian you pray about it, if you are a non-believer you go to the witch doctor as well.
Most Councillors have died at the hands of witchcraft from their own people. This is a case of one of our Councillor who just got better two weeks ago, from 2016 just after he was elected he became paralyzed. Then you begin to wonder.
So by the time it’s one year in office you feel old, tired and exhausted and wish to resign because it’s draining you.
You offer your last coin to develop, your people does not seem to yield fruits so you feel discouraged and begin to underperform.
Then at rallies, political meetings and other political functions you see Councillors being left out, being segregated, wait, aren’t these the people who hold the votes, they bring development right to the grassroots?
Yes, they are the spine of any political party. Then you wonder.
This is what I keep saying that politics is not for the weak and it’s an extremely harsh environment for women because whatever you do as a female politician is looked at with big lenses.
It is emotionally draining and physically exhausting. So before you join politics be sure that you are called by the living God to serve others. Otherwise you will fail. Also learn to give yourself time to breath and also do things for you and your family as a balanced whole.
If you have a Councillor, in your ward today who goes out of their way to deliver a service appreciate them for sacrificing their resources and bringing creativity to your ward.
When they are gone it will not make sense to say they were hardworking.
These are some of the things you are not told about Councillors. They are very important wings in the political arena.
Inspire someone today, believe in yourself today. Today is your day, change someone’s life today.
The writer is Mishikishi Ward Councillor in Masaiti.