The election of a Zimbabwean woman, Josephine Siziba, as councillor in one of the wards in Newcastle, United Kingdom (UK), highlights the influence of Zimbabweans on domestic politics, according to Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni.
Siziba, who ran as a Labour Party candidate in Benton Ward, won a landslide victory and chose to celebrate her victory with a cultural inauguration ceremony presided over by Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni this weekend.
Siziba had been active in reducing racism activities as a refugee, and in 2016, appeared in the news participating in a protest in Newcastle against the English Defence League (EDL), a far-right movement whose ideology and discourse were described as racist, saying that if the group was not stopped, racism would worsen in the UK.
Chief Ndiweni expressed confidence in Siziba’s leadership abilities, saying the more Zimbabweans elected to political office around the world influenced Zimbabwe’s domestic politics.
“The election of Josephine Siziba is important because it begins a road map that is beneficial to Zimbabwe, in a profound manner. Such benefits are observed in the election of Rishi Sunak as the first British Prime Minister with an Asian background. Indeed, the more Zimbabweans are elected to political office all over the world, the more they will influence and change Zimbabwe domestic politics,” the chief told CITE.
“The last time a black Councillor was elected here was some 48 years ago. Now it was a Zimbabwean woman that had been elected. That is history in the making.”
According to the chief, there are now over 90 Zimbabweans serving as Councillors in various countries, as well as a handful of Members of Parliament.
“This is how we raise the profile of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean diaspora achieving such positions, enables them to bring jobs to Zimbabweans, bring investment to Zimbabwe, bring resources to Zimbabwe, open markets for Zimbabwe, encourage trade between Zimbabwe and other nations among other benefits,” Chief Ndiweni said.
Chief Ndiweni praised Siziba for requesting that her inauguration be a cultural traditional event.
“The ceremony was well attended with many local councillors, Members of Parliament, clergy, and the general public. The celebrations went into the very, very late hours and it was clear for all to see that the local community of Newcastle Upon Tyne had indeed taken the Zimbabwean community in their midst to heart as a part of them,” said the chief.
“We hope Siziba will progress and become a Member of Parliament, in the House of Commons in His Majesty’s government.”
Zimbabwe, according to Chief Ndiweni, is not a “geographic or political island,” noting that the southern African country cannot survive on its own.
“Today we observe the rush by the Zanu PF government to be accepted back into the Commonwealth of Nations,” he said.
“The question is will the Zanu PF government ever accept these Zimbabweans who now are truly international. That is the question because the Zimbabwean diaspora is here to stay in the global village that is the international arena, irrespective of whatever happens in the elections in Zimbabwe in 2023.”