Ward 17 Councillor Skhululekile Moyo torched a storm at an election debate series Tuesday when she openly campaigned for her party’s Pumula constituency parliamentary candidate, Sichelesile Mahlangu, who failed to attend the event.
Six candidates were supposed to feature at an election debate series organised by CITE in partnership with the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) ahead of the March 26 by-election for the electorate to meet with the candidates.
The six candidates are Mahlangu of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Ntandoyenkosi Ndlovu of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Albert Mhlanga – MDC Alliance, Pumulani Nsingo of Zanu PF, Richard Ncube – ZAPU and Thabani Tshuma an independent candidate.
But out of the six candidates, only three from ZAPU, MDC Alliance and an independent turned up for the debate series yet Councillor Moyo used the opportunity to campaign for CCC’s Mahlangu.
Mahlangu is the only female candidate out of the six candidates.
It was during the plenary session that the councillor berated male candidates for failing to address women’s issues.
She, therefore, advised residents to vote for Mahlangu.
“Men have failed to lead us as we have seen from previous experiences. Pumula needs a caring hand from someone who has love and can talk calmly with people. Many years have passed where men have represented us but as a gender champion I am saying let’s look towards the female candidate,” she said.
The councillor claimed that male candidates were letting down their constituents with fake promises.
“I don’t think its wrong for me to talk on her behalf since she’s not here and it’s my right to talk. Looking at the previous leadership for the past 40 years, where we have been voting for men and all of them have been telling us fake promises but now we have to look at the women who are there,” she said.
As the councillor was speaking some of the participants shouted “point of order” to interject her but she continued: “I have right to speak, you will also speak when you are given the opportunity.”
After the councillor’s address, one of the participants said it was wrong for her to campaign for a candidate who had not shown up.
“Where are the other candidates? They did not come but I am surprised that the honourable councillor is campaigning for another candidate who is not here. It’s very wrong as the candidate did not attend this debate. The candidate must come and campaign for herself, not to be campaigned for by another person. Next time when you want to talk do not campaign for someone who did not show up,” said the participant.
In response to Councillor Moyo, the ZAPU candidate said although it was good to uplift and empower women, she was setting a bad precedent by pushing voters to vote on gender lines, not on capability.
“Women must also show they are capable leaders so that people are well represented and not to elect an MP because they are female. I think what the councillor said puts women at a disadvantage because it must be about merit,” Ncube said.