Binga voters want electoral material in local languages

Locals in Binga are appealing to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to provide electoral information and posters in their native Tonga language.

Tonga is one of the 16 official languages that have been recognised for use in Zimbabwe, as per the 2013 constitution.

But most of the posters flighted by ZEC in Binga regarding the biometric voters’ registration exercise are written in Ndebele or Shona, which are not the local’s native languages.

Apparently, some of the posters have been destroyed by angry locals who were unhappy with ZEC’s exclusion.

“We are facing a serious problem of language barrier with the information ZEC is distributing. ZEC put posters in different places of Binga but these posters are written in Ndebele and Shona yet very few people understand these Languages. It is a sign of disrespect to Tonga people,” said Disciple Munkuli, an independent candidate contesting for the Binga North parliamentary seat.

Munkuli who is an advocate on the use and promotion of Tonga language said children in Binga were no longer learning Ndebele in schools, so there would be no one to interpret electoral information to illiterate elders.

“People must be communicated in their language and they must have enough information about elections in their native language that they understand,” he stressed.

The aspiring MP said locals had been hoping that ZEC would hold meetings and discuss with people so that they too participated in electoral processes.

“We may have delayed making this call to ZEC, as we expected that the electoral commission would bring posters written in Tonga or even hold meetings with Tonga people to explain what they have written on posters,” Munkuli said.

“Most of the posters, if not all of them written in Ndebele language have been torn into pieces by people. People want to feel as if they have a voice within their community and it is their right.

Munkuli said posters done in English were still there but locals were insistent they needed material they could easily understand.

ZEC’s Media Liaison Person/Spokesperson, Commissioner Joyce Laetitia Kazembe’s mobile phone rang unanswered when sought for comment.

Meanwhile, on March 26, Munkuli will face four other candidates for Binga North constituency: Peggy Mudimba of MDC Alliance, Kudakwashe Mavula Munsaka of Zanu PF, Clive Muzamba of United Democratic Alliance and Prince Dubeko Sibanda of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

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