Kwekwe’s first black female mayor, Angeline Kasipo is a woman on a mission. NewsDay correspondent Stephen Chadenga (ND) speaks to Kasipo (AK) on her plans for Kwekwe, leadership in a politically-dominated environment, among other issues. Below are excerpts of the interview:
INTERVIEW: Stephen Chadenga
ND: Who is Angeline Kasipo and how did you join politics?
AK: I was born on November 17,1962. I am married with four grown up children. My husband and I moved from Harare to Kwekwe in 1988, as he took up a position as farm manager of Arda Sessombi, which was just outside Kwekwe, while I was to work for the Department of Social Welfare at the Kwekwe district offices.
At present, I am a businessperson with my own weddings and events garden.
ND: Are you facing any challenges in the male-dominated environment since you entered politics?
AK: It is true that politics, especially opposition politics, is male-dominated, but that is because politics is a demanding field. A lot of women, especially the younger ones who are still pursuing careers outside the home and have growing children, do not have the time which is needed if you are to do justice to the profession. Nevertheless, I have found most of my male colleagues to be encouraging and supportive.
ND: I understand you are Kwekwe’s first female mayor since independence in 1980. What is your general view of women participation in politics and for political office in particular?
AK: As Kwekwe’s first female mayor, I feel greatly honoured. Though the view of women participating in politics, in general, and taking up political office, in particular, is changing for the better, women’s capabilities are still somewhat looked down upon.
It is up to those of us who take up these positions to prove our worth and, thus, encourage other women to go out there and do likewise.
ND: Anything unique in terms of service delivery that you intend to bring to the people of Kwekwe?
AK: What we intend to achieve in Kwekwe is not exactly unique. We intend to work together with our secretariat and Kwekwe residents and actually deliver good services.
I strongly believe that individually, it would be very difficult, but if all of us work together, we can transform our town into something we can all be proud of.
ND: What other priority areas in terms of service provision are you targeting as you assume office?
AK: Our biggest challenge at the moment is cleaning up the town and providing clean drinking water.
At the moment, there is rubbish dumped all over the town. With the threat of cholera and typhoid, we need to quickly clean up our town and provide every household in the city with clean drinking water.
ND: Besides issues of service delivery, how do you intend to uplift the lives of women in the City of Kwekwe?
AK: The lives of women are uplifted when we provide a conducive environment for them to freely pursue their interests, be it in business, politics or some other activity.
Good service delivery will go a long way in creating such an environment because they do not have to then spend valuable time looking for drinking water, or be scared to travel after dark because we will rehabilitate street lights.
We will also provide a safe and disease-free environment for them to operate from when we clean up the town.