As the excitement heightens towards the 2018 Harmonized Elections, the question of the preparedness of electoral stakeholders remains relevant. Residents from Bulawayo congregated for a Public Interface Meeting to assess the preparedness of electoral stakeholders ahead of the elections. Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) hosted a meeting in partnership with Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO), Election Resource Centre (ERC) and National Youth Development Trust (NYDT). There was a huge turnout of over 400 people from different wards who graced the event and had the opportunity to ask pertinent questions that speak to their individual needs.
Zimbabwe Democratic Union (ZDU) representative Thembelihle Sibanda, weighed in on the positive impact of WILD capacity building programs.
“I am a product of the WILD mentorship programs which have groomed my leadership ability as a woman” she said.
ZAPU representative, Iphithule Maphosa, argued that the country’s private media are biased and as such, most opposition parties are not interfacing with the public as they campaign.
“The media have narrowed the presidential race to only two people and this puts other candidates at a disadvantage” he said.
Some participants felt that in as much as the candidates were speaking highly of their preparedness prior to the polls, the truth of the matter is people have no say as to when they are ready.
“They managed to assess the level of preparedness as expected but our government does not seem to understand our grievances and as such, ready or not, the elections will continue so the people have no input in that,” said Colbert Mahonondo of the Alliance for National Salvation (ANSA).
As the event came to a close, people interviewed expressed concern over the ignorance of people campaigning for office on issues that directly affects them.
“The meeting was mainly about the candidates discussing their affairs and not issues affecting us, just like the outgoing Members of Parliament (MPs) who do not reside in the same constituencies they represent thus are out of touch with reality” said Agnes from Tshabalala.
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