Election Watch 2018News

Shona-speaking councillor causes a stir

Tanaka Mrewa

Drama and chaos rocked Bulawayo City Council  chambers during the councillor swearing in ceremony of after councillor for Ward 24 swore in using Shona language.

Arnold Batirai, who arrived for the ceremony late, arrived at the chambers 45 minutes into the ceremony after his name had already been called out.

After all the councillors had been sworn in Cllr Batirai was called upfront to take his oath.

He caused astir when he recited the vow he was meant to take in Shona.

Members of the public who were witnessing the ceremony roared up in anger at the gesture. they stormed to the councillors´ tables where they started shouting at Cllr Batirai demanding that he takes the oath afresh using English language like the rest of the councillors.

The chaos was calmed down by the Town clerk Chrisopher Dube, with the assistance of other council officials.

In the midst of the whole chaos, Cllr Batirai seemed unmoved by the peopleś reaction towards him, he simply sat on his chair.

The swearing in ceremony, meant to start at 1000hrs, suffered a false start after some of the councillors came a few minutes late.

The Town clerk announced that the cityś mayor and deputy will be elected on Tuesday next week at 1600hrs.

Members of the public demanded the mayoral elections be held at the Large City Hall to accommodate more people for the council chambers where the swearing in took place is too small for everyone to fit in.

CITE interviewed Siboniso James, a woman from ward 11, who expressed disappointment over the reaction from members of the public.

¨Shona is a Zimbabwean language just like isiNdebele. If the councillor wanted to use his own language there is no problem. He was voted into that position by people from his ward, people who know him and deemed him capable of being their leader. The reaction from the people was unfair towards him. Bulawayo residents need to understand that service delivery is more important than language,¨ she said.

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