VICTORIA Falls residents have vowed to resist candidate imposition, saying they would only vote for local politicians regardless of which political party they belonged to.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
This came amid reports that most of the sitting councillors were outsiders, hence the poor levels of development in the resort town.
The unanimous decision was taken by hundreds of residents during a consultative meeting organised by Victoria Falls Civic Society Consortium at Chinotimba Hall on Sunday.
“We have lot of politicians who manoeuvre their way to power in places where they have no interest in and us as residents, we need to vet these politicians before primary elections,” said Gift Muyambo, a resident.
“If the party imposes candidates that we do not know like they always do, we will demonstrate against those members.
“Let us do things that will not cost us, the idea of your vote is your secret works to oppress people that’s why we are saying let us lay down our expectations and select a candidate that will meet those expectations regardless of political party.”
Another resident, Mlamuli Mabhena, warned residents to guard against being bribed with food handouts.
“We cannot have a councillor from Gwanda to represent Victoria Falls and there we are not turning back. It is time for us as residents to make our own decisions not to be deceived by rice donations forgetting the implications of that vote in the long run.”
Sidalubuhle Moyo said there was serious tension between local authority and residents and most of those problems were fuelled by the sitting councillors.
“Our land was sold to CBZ Bank yet locals who have been on the waiting list since 1990 have been sidelined. Right now council says they have exhausted all the land and the same foreign councillors flew to Harare to seal the deal and residents are fighting with council and council says your councillors signed, it is not our fault.”
After the $12 million CBZ land deal, hundreds of residents who have been on the waiting list for more than a decade invaded the bank’s land in June 2017, leading to their arrest.
Most residents failed to qualify for vetting at CBZ as they did not have the required bank statements.
Speaking at the same event, human rights lawyer Thulani Nkala told residents that the Constitution allowed anyone with a political ambition to represent residents regardless of where they came from.
Aspiring councillors and legislators will meet residents and present their objectives at the next meeting.