Poor Citizens Don’t Need Handouts, And Spin From Politicians. They Need Sustainable Development
Election after election poor masses are taken for a ride, being bribed with food handouts, and promised more. Image by CAJNews
Local populations must reject politicians who take them for a ride while holding to account those they vote into office.
BULAWAYO (The Citizen Bulletin) — As we slide towards what’s certain to be a do-or-die by-election polls, poor citizens, especially those residing in rural and peri-urban communities in Matabeleland are the target. Facing long-term unemployment, perennial poverty and striking hunger, most of the voters in these communities are already being assaulted with political gimmicks from politicians across the political divide.
This is not new. Election after election, and year after year, poor masses are taken for a ride, being bribed with food handouts, and promised more should they vote for certain establishments. We’ve also seen how politicians, especially those from the party in government, start pushing infrastructural projects such as roads, and clinics amongst others to lure the rural vote.
For the gullible, the political gimmicks are a signal of good things to come. Yet, immediately after elections they will be reeling from another poverty polemic, and their communities deeply entrenched in shocking underdevelopment.
For us fighting for communities as watchdogs, what we are witnessing has triggered us to dare ask: So whom do local politicians and their sponsoring political parties think they are fooling?
In our lead story in this Issue, we expose political candidates for the upcoming by-elections for taking the elderly voters for a ride by giving them handouts and promising them more should they vote for them. Yet, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck two years ago, leaving many citizens impoverished, they were nowhere to be seen.
“In a functional economy the elderly are supposed to be looked after by the government,” Michael Ncube, a Matabeleland North villager told our publication.
We concur with Ncube. Instead of using political spin and handouts to lure voters, politicians, especially those from the governing party must create sustainable development so that citizens are able to fend for themselves. Sustainable development can take many forms but for local communities, it means benefitting from local resources including wildlife and mines. It also means ensuring that locals are given first presence for local government jobs. The list is endless.
We implore local populations to assert themselves by rejecting politicians who trick them by making a litany of promises they never fulfill when they are voted into office. We also urge local populations to continuously hold to account politicians they vote into office so that they fulfill promises they would have made during election campaigns. For our part, we will continuously produce hard hitting reporting that shines a light on ills perpetrated by politicians and their political organizations within our communities.
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