With Charlton going to the polls on Thursday to pick new councillors, The Charlton Champion asked each party if one of their candidates could answer a questionnaire about why they’re standing, what they’ve done, and what they can do. Conservative candidate MACHARIA GAKURU has his say…
1. Why Charlton?
I have lived in Charlton, Cherry Orchard Estate since 1995. I have raised my children here and I work in the local hospitals as a biomed. I am the founder of a charity that offers scholarships to renal doctors Kenya to the UK, Egypt and other developed countries.
Charlton is my home and I want to do more for the local residents, especially engaging young people and showing them opportunities within and beyond.
2. What can you bring to the job of being a councillor?
I care about Charlton ward and my borough. I am called to serve. I am a good leader and I love being involved in finding local, national and international solution to people’s problems. The democratic process is something I cherish and hold dear to my heart because building a free, fair and just society is good for all the people in our society. I love politics and the intellectual debates that goes along with it.
3. What is Greenwich Council good at?
I have seen good development projects in some parts of the borough over the years. I have seen shopping malls and business centres spring up, especially the one in Bugsby Way, Charlton, which are positive. There are many families that enjoy the Riverside Leisure Centre in Woolwich where I am a regular. Greenwich is a very cosmopolitan borough; the council is a reflection of it.
4. What does Greenwich Council need to improve at?
Listening to the community, its clear that the council needs to listen to what the local residents wants and implement their decisions.
It’s very clear that residents are opposed to the Silvertown Tunnel, the large Riverside and Greenwich Peninsula development and the Cruise Liner terminal – and yet these projects may still go ahead.
5. What makes Charlton special?
Charlton is my home. In SE7 I have raised my children and work locally. I have lived here for over 20 years. I’d like the best things to come and happen here as it will improve our lives.
6. What are the biggest issues affecting the people of Charlton?
Air pollution is a big issue
Community involvement in decision-making.
Youth Involvement in local issues and engagement with local politics
Affordable housing / social housing
7. What are the biggest issues affecting Greenwich borough?
There’s not much difference in the issues that affect Greenwich as a borough to those that affect Charlton, due to the ripple effect. Therefore the issues of air pollution will dominate the political agenda and it’s also very clear that the local council, due to domination by one party, is not listening to the local residents.
8. Why should people vote on 3 May?
One party dominating our local politics should be a cause of concern, especially when it’s clear they are not listening to the local residents. It will be of paramount importance that a strong opposition is in a position to help balance decision-making for local people. Therefore people should go out and vote in large numbers and vote for independent local candidates who listen to the people.
9. Charlton is on the brink of huge change with redevelopment due in Charlton Riverside. What will you do to make sure residents’ voices are taken seriously throughout this process?
If I am elected I will make people of Charlton ward involved in every major decision that happens by:
· Regular surgeries – suggesting twice a week whereby I’d ask for peoples suggestions and their input in issues that affects council decisions
· Open people’s forum
· Sharing information through newsletter / blogs / website
· I would propose a policy that will enable a peoples’ vote on major development in Charlton
10. Has Conservative economic and transport policy been good for Charlton?
This isn’t a national election, but I think the work Conservatives have done in government to help create record numbers of jobs are good for local people. And the support for big transport projects like Crossrail will help make this part of London much better-connected.
Macharia Gakuru is standing in Charlton ward for the Conservative Party. To find out more, visit www.greenwichconservatives.com.
- See Labour councillor Gary Parker’s response.
- See Lib Dem candidates’ responses.
- See Women’s Equality Party candidate Pamela Ritchie’s responses.
- See Green candidate Clare Loops’ responses.
- See the answers given to The Valley Hill Hub.
- See who’s standing in your ward, find manifestos and hustings
- Read what happened and see video from the Charlton ward hustings
Charlton ward candidates (three are elected): Gary Dillon (Labour), Macharia Gakuru (Conservative), Ian Gerrard (Liberal Democrat), Rebecca Ireland (Liberal Democrat), Catherine Latham (Conservative), Clare Loops (Green), Maya Mann (Conservative), Gary Parker (Labour), Linda Perks (Labour), Pamela Ritchie (Women’s Equality Party), Charlie Rome (Liberal Democrat). Polls are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 3 May.