Councilor Douglas Chililo considers himself a political protégé of outspoken legislator Temba Mliswa such that when the former ZANU PF Mashonaland West Chairman came to Norton, Chililo ditched his party, MDC Alliance, and became an independent also.
The now Ward 7 Councilor was born in Norton and was part of the main opposition party structures from around 2014.
“When Hon Mliswa came to Norton he saw the potential in me and we began working together when I was the Secretary for the Norton Development Association (NORDA).
“He groomed me as he saw the potential that I had for the position for a Councilor and we did many projects and developmental things even before I became a Councilor”.
Chililo says when Mliswa saw that he was ripe he advised him to campaign for the post of Councilor which he duly did after a rigorous campaign process where he visited almost every household in his Ward.
“I’m emotionally attached to this Ward because I was born in it and I understand all its problems. It’s very fortunate that the people in the Ward understood me also and believed that I was the best person to take over from the previous Councilor”.
Chililo, who is a teacher by training, defeated both the MDC Alliance and ZANU PF candidates in the Ward and became a Councilor and today is one of only two independent Councilors in Norton Town Council. The rest are MDC Alliance.
The other independent Councilor is Ward 12 Councilor Laston Tachiona whose campaign was also hitched onto the Mliswa legislative campaign.
“We have problems with title deeds as my father also has a house here. That was one major issue that pushed me to become a Councilor and right now we are at an advanced stage to have those.
“The other issue is about water. We are facing numerous challenges related to water. We have two water bodies so why can’t we have our own water plant. That also pushed me to be a Councilor.
“My Ward is comprised of almost 80% old people and they need assistance from various humanitarian organisations. They need someone who looks out for them and that’s what I’m trying to do”, he said.
Chililo is optimistic that he will manage to bring positive changes to his constituency despite the challenges which the town, and the country at large, are facing.
He, however, has misgivings about the conduct of central government, through the Ministry of Local Government, which he says is constantly sending directives which are contrary to their local agenda.
I just hope that we could be allowed room by the Ministry to fulfil the developmental objectives which we have”, he says.