The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidate for Ward 12 in Bulawayo Lillian Mlilo, was thrilled to retain her place in the local authority following a bitter battle for the council seat.
Ward 12 covers Njube Portion, Lobengula Extension 4 and Old Lobengula.
Mlilo, who received 989 votes, was up against Zanu PF’s Mary Ncube who polled 583 votes.
The other candidates included Casper Sibanda from ZAPU who received 142 votes, Visitor Ndebele from MDC Alliance who had 61 votes while Esnat Khumalo of the Republican Party of Zimbabwe only managed 26 votes.
“I defeated the other four candidates and I am happy about my victory. I promise to continue the work I was doing before I was recalled and I am also happy that residents voted for me again, showing they trust in my leadership skills. I vow to continue working well with them,” Mlilo said in an interview with CITE Sunday outside her homestead in Njube.
A number of residents had already gathered at her home and were celebrating both Mlilo’s and the party- CCC’s victory.
“Residents started trickling in on Saturday night as we waited for the results and when my victory was announced, they immediately declared Sunday as a day of celebration. I agreed with that declaration as this is our victory together,” Mlilo said.
A Ward 14 resident Lizwe Moyo who was also present at the celebration party noted the victory signalled progress for residents.
“We slept here and we are still rejoicing that Mlilo won. She used to work well with people and we are happy to see her back in council again,” she said, highlighting service delivery had been slowed down when there was no councillor in the area.
“It was challenging as there was no one to stamp documents for us. Residents used to walk longer distances to Number Two (Mabuthweni) or Emakhandeni to access such services. Now that our councillor is here, her presence will make it easier for us to authenticate votes.”
Moyo also urged residents to take their civic duties seriously and participate meaningfully in any election.
“People did not go out in their numbers, as they preferred to stay at home, saying they are tired of voting as it doesn’t change anything. Polling stations started seeing action around past 3pm but from morning, many people did not vote,” she said.
“People need to be urged that voting is a right and is important. Residents need to be educated that they must not surrender voting but one day the situation will change as giving up also doesn’t help anything.”
Another Ward 12 resident, Precious Nyathi, echoed the same sentiments that had youth participated in their numbers, the party’s numbers would have been ‘boosted’ high.
“We are happy that CCC won but it’s not pleasing to see that youth did not attend in their numbers,” she lamented.
Nyathi highlighted that some youths were deterred after “some were turned away from polling stations when their names did not appear on the voters roll or were redirected to other polling stations, which put them off.”
One polling agent for the CCC, Mthokozisi Ncube, claimed people were fatigued when it came to electoral processes and “the partisan manner of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission which is accused of siding with the ruling ZANU-PF party.
“Young people are sitting at home yet some are graduates and others have courses but are not part of local development. Young people must choose a local leader to develop their municipality. As 2023 approaches, we are still inviting young people to participate in the election so that the low turnout that took place in the by-election does not occur again. Youths are the future and when change comes, no one is going to divert it. Development is here through CCC,” he said.