Dr Masimba Mavaza
The newly-elected Mayor of Corby Councillor Tafadzwa Chikoto has revealed what kept him moving towards the mayor’s seat.
Chikoto said he has a passion to see youths develop and move away from drugs. It is that passion that has kept him going.
Speaking from Zimbabwe where he is visiting, Chikoto said his first priority was to Corby Town and it’s residence.
“In Diaspora I have seen that the people of Corby supports you regardless of your colour. I did not become a mayor because black people but because of every person. I was and I am humbled by the support I got from my party the Labour Party and the people of Corby and of cause my fellow councillors who nominated me Mayor of Corby. When I came back to Zimbabwe I told my wife that we need to Mayors even in Zimbabwe. Corby dominates and Corby has put us here. I then took up the youth problem to higher offices in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“I was humbled when I was invited to meet President Mnangagwa. Contrary to what people say, Zimbabwe has very exciting policies supporting youths. The policies are monitored from the President himself. I implored the powers that be to empower the youth and form a cooperation of the youth of the world.” I have to give the youth the opportunity to make it in life.”
“Starting with Corby, I want to empower the youths one at a time until the whole world is empowered.”
Chikoto has credited youth with paving the way for him becoming the first citizen of Corby.
Chikoto said he is having serious plans to form and support charities to support the youth. He said if it hadn’t been for his involvement and passion with the youth groups as a teenager, he wouldn’t be Lord Mayor today.
In Zimbabwe, he was welcomed by several Government officials and capped his high profile with a very fruitful meeting with President Mnangagwa where he conveyed the warm greetings from Corby.
“Zimbabwe holds a special place in my heart. It seems like only yesterday I was involved in the amazing youth programmes from secondary schools in Zimbabwe. When I moved to Corby I was swept away by the warmth and the love of Corby people.
‘’Being involved with such a diverse and fun community was a highlight of my time in Corby,” said Chikoto.
“I learnt so much during my time with the many fantastic teachers, students and volunteers and I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help and support growing up; if it hadn’t been for Zimbabwe and Corby. I wouldn’t be lord mayor today.’’
“My work now in to provide every young people of all ages and backgrounds with the opportunity to rise above any social and economic problems. To invest in the youth is invaluable. I will pray that one day I will have youth from Zimbabwe and those from Corby interact. Not only does it provide a safe and welcoming space for young people to express themselves, it will help them build confidence and communication skills they can use away from the comfort of their homes.
“For a long-time I have been dreaming of providing young people of all ages and backgrounds, with opportunities to get involved in politics and running of their cities and towns and their countries. I’m looking forward to offering them my help and support throughout the remainder of my term in office and beyond.”
While taking a trip down memory lane in Zimbabwe councillor Chikoto visited several schools and met with youth organisations who are fighting against drugs.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said, “We are absolutely delighted that our child Councillor Tafadzwa Chikoto has chosen to support our youth in this way. The Lord Mayor is a wonderful ambassador for his Town Corby and for Zimbabwe and an inspirational role model for our youth and citizens.
Chikoto took the footsteps of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who announced in February 2022 that;
- Young Londoners in need of support will have access to a personal mentor by 2024 as part of London’s New Deal for Young People?
- The Mayor and London boroughs are working with community groups to help young people most in need fulfil their potential
Commenting on politics, Chikoto said “Young people should be at the heart of decisions that affect their lives. I believe that young people are experts in their own experience. They have the energy, and professionalism to speak for themselves.
‘’That’s why I believe in the youth and that’s why I am meeting all leaders where ever they are so that we drive the program of the youth ahead.’’
Chikoto said his aim was to build a more relevant, sustainable and effective enabling environment for education and work systems for young people, that recognise their rights and will, and Involve young people at all levels in decision making processes that will affect their lives.
He would love adults to partner with young people to build a better, more resilient world for all generations.
He is not ashamed to connect with his roots. He is Zimbabwean at heart and he owes Zimbabwe and it is leadership a lot.
Chikoto said; “I was never going to be a strong person without Zimbabwe. There are, some experiences that are still significant in my life today or, shall I say, where the true value and meaning has come to light over time. I am not ashamed and I owe no one an apology that I am proudly a product of Zimbabwe. Those on Twitter insulting me can continue but my mission is to the people of Corby my party and my roots. “
Chikoto, 45, was born in Zimbabwe and has lived in Corby for nearly 17 years. According to the Corby Town Council website he “comes from a Christian background” and has “a passion for empowering youth from underprivileged backgrounds”.
It adds: “He has worked within the local community health and social care sector and has exposure and insight into the socio-economic needs of our community that require ongoing improvement and development for the benefit of all.”
During an interview after his swearing in ceremony Chikoto said; “It’s an honour being elected mayor in a foreign land and it’s a huge honour being able to represent the community. It means a lot being elected as the first ever black mayor in Corby.
“People are moving on and times are changing, which is great. It’s exciting for the community. Everyone can feel included, this is not just for me.
“I feel native to Corby. Having lived here now for as long as I have, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I want to give young people purpose and create opportunities for them.”