Violent political candidates don’t deserve votes: Chief Mathema

Aspiring candidates for the upcoming harmonised elections who incite violence do not deserve to be voted into any office, Chief Khulumani Mathema of Gwanda has said.

The outspoken traditional leader was addressing a meeting, Saturday, at Sitezi in Gwanda, he had convened for aspiring candidates to interface with villagers.

Chief Mathema emphasised the importance of observing peace during elections, noting that no good leader would want to convince people to vote for them through violence. 

The meeting was attended by representatives from various political parties, independent candidates, and community members. 

The candidates presented their manifestos, and the villagers had an opportunity to ask questions, interrogate them and share their expectations.

“We want to have a peaceful election. If there is any candidate, regardless of which political party they come from, who incites violence, please do not vote for that person,” Chief Mathema said. 

“Good leaders are those who preach and uphold peace. We want leaders who will promote development and unity, not people who cause divisions. I don’t want a situation where people will start hiding in the hills because they would be fleeing from harassment from certain people, groups or political parties.”

Chief Mathema also emphasised the importance of having candidates who are academically competent to argue in parliament over issues that are of national importance. 

Community members at the meeting raised a number of concerns, some inquiring on how aspiring candidates would deal with “oppressive” legislations that have been put in place, some asking why all opposition parties do not unite and form one strong force while others wanted to know if the candidates had adequate academic qualifications to hold the offices that they wish to hold.

Citizens’ Coalition for Change Cluster leader for Gwanda, Jaston Mazhale, said their party, once voted into power, will repeal all the legislations that stifle the freedom of people. 

“Most of these legislations were there even pre-independence, being perpetrated by the whites. Post-independence they were repealed. But now, they are resurfacing under new names,” he said.

“In terms of academic qualifications, I will give an example of our aspiring candidate for Gwanda North. He has a background in Environmental Science, as a community that has a lot of mining happening, we are confident he will debate accordingly in Parliament over such issues.”

A representative from Mthwakazi Republic Party said it would be challenging to come together and form one opposition party because the objectives of people are different and those who are affiliated with political parties tend to push mostly for what their leaders want which may, in some instances, not be what the rest of the people want. 

A representative from Zanu-PF, who was standing in for an aspiring candidate, said their party is open to everyone who may want to come and join them.

An independent candidate, Dalubuhle Maphosa, said people should stop discriminating against each other according to political affiliations but should have one common purpose of development.

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