Epworth now deserves town status: “Mayor” Masunda

The Epworth Local Board chairperson, Councilor Batanai Masunda, popularly referred to as mayor, on Sunday called for government to grant the dormitory suburb a  town status accord as a way to encourage its growth.

Speaking to Zim Morning Post, Masunda said Epworth has for long been considered a peri urban area and mostly depends on Harare City Council for services and amenities, hindering its development prospects.

“In terms of population growth, Epworth has surpassed Bulawayo and Chitungwiza. We are growing very fast and it’s time we got a town status accord in order to attract investment in this area,” Masunda said.

The “mayor” said during the 2018 elections, Epworth urban had more than 80 000 registered voters compared to Bulawayo’s 70 000.

“How can you explain this situation; we have 300 000 residents and during elections we had more than 80 000 voters, but we have only one Member of Parliament. We need to be accorded a town status accord if government is to save us from poverty.

“We do not have banks, courts, government offices and other facilities, forcing residents to travel to Harare everyday to get those services. I believe that should stop.”

“Mayor” Masunda was speaking on the sidelines of a soccer tournament named after his name, organised to promote peace and development in his Epworth constituency.

Speaking at the tournament, Masunda said: “When I started this initiative, I wanted to bring youths from all parties together and work to uplift the community, but I am surprised with the turn up. It means the people of Epworth are realising the importance of peace.”

 Masunda, a ward 6 councillor in Epworth, uses soccer as a tool to unite people from across the political and religious divide, with the initiative every time attracting more than two thousand residents.

The tournament was also attended by Tawanda Earthrage Kureva, MP for the constituency, who also expressed shock at the turn up by residents to  non-political events.

“It’s very shocking to see residents coming to such an event to watch their children play soccer, and I think this sport can be a great unifier in this community.”

Kureva also thanked residents for setting aside their political differences to work for the betterment of the community.

“Epworth is well known for violence, prostitution, drug abuse and thievery but very few people know that we actually have great talent in this area. Therefore, this tournament and many to follow will help shape our image in a positive way,” Kureva said.

Epworth is just 20km away from Harare and is well known for producing some of the country’s greatest comedians such as Fredy “Kapfupi” Manjalima and the popular Prosper “Comic Pastor” Ngomashi.