By Duduzile Ndlukulwani/ Silas Nkala
MDC Alliance’s ward 28 candidate for Cowdray Park in Bulawayo, Collet Ndlovu, has triggered a storm with women rights activists after urging residents to rally behind a male candidate, saying women politicians were weak.
Addressing residents at a meet the candidate event jointly organised by Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA), Women Institute for Leadership Development (WILD), Victory Siyanqoba (VS) and Bulawayo Vendors Traders’ Association (BVTA), among others, Ndlovu angered female candidates after describing them as weak.
“Women need men in positions of power because they are afraid, hence if crushed, they keep quiet,” Ndlovu said.
The sentiments provoked anger among residents who said Ndlovu had failed the community during his 10 years as councillor.
Julia Chilufia said: “We need a councillor who will not abuse office like Ndlovu who was never in his office or at his place of residence because he was busy at beerhalls. He does not want to work with women.”
Another resident, Antony Nketa, charged: “Women and youths issues go hand-in-hand and we want a woman who will ensure that the youths are not idle through the establishment of youth centres. Women will address issues of road construction, water challenges and sewerage problems.”
At the meeting, residents said challenges which they wanted addressed included the development of youth centres, maternity wards at clinics, de-politicisation of service delivery, construction of roads, among others.
BPRA chairperson Ambrose Sibindi urged residents to vote for a councillor who would represent them well.
Ten out of the 18 aspiring candidates attended the meeting. The seat fell vacant following the death of MDC Alliance councillor Happyson Ncube in December last year.
The voter education programme in ward 28 comes ahead of the by-election set for Saturday.
“We educate them [voters] on the importance of voting and tell them that if one does not vote, it means he or she is endorsing whatever the outcome would be. We also educate on what is needed for them when they are going to vote because some may leave behind their identity particulars or go to wrong polling stations and wear political regalia, which is not allowed. We are also educating residents on the need to desist from fighting, but to allow each other to sell their ideas to the voters during campaigns,” Sibindi said.