Electoral reforms must address the issue of 'Aliens' - Rimuka residents

"......politicians do not bother to engage us because they think we do not matter. We do not vote since we are the so called aliens. What pains me is that I was born and bred in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe is the only place I can call home.... €

Solomon Zindaga -A resident of Rimuka, Kadoma

Residents of Rimuka in Kadoma have registered their scepticism over participating in political processes because politicians think they do not matter since they have been stripped of voting powers. These sentiments were echoed at a community theatre forum convened by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in Rimuka, Kadoma on Saturday the 28th of July 2012. The forum was attended by 311 people including 176 females and 135 males.

The objective was to use theatre to portray the day to day challenges that communities face and how these challenges can be addressed by participating in political processes. Emphasis was placed on participating in the referendum and elections. A key finding of the theatre forum was that the Rimuka community believes politicians take them for granted since most of them are aliens and therefore do not vote.

A tour of the community indicated that the dwellings particularly in the General Bachelor's quarters area (known as 'kumaGB') date back to the colonial era where the dwellings were meant for bachelors who came into the city in search of employment. As such, each household has a single room in which families of up to six people live in exacerbating the spread of communicable diseases. As a result of the unanticipated number of people living in the area, the population has had an effect on social service delivery. Both the collapse of social service delivery and the waiver of socio-cultural and moral values have posed severe challenges to families but they are clueless as to how they can change their lives.

There area has no proper sanitation with residents relying on out-dated vestigial communal taps. The power supply is also poor, while garbage has accumulated to appalling levels. Raw sewer oozes from bust sewer pipes and the strong stench of excreta from nearby communal toilets make habitation a nightmare.   In an interview, Solomon Zindaga who lives in the GB quarters said he is no longer conscious of the stench from both the sewage and the toilets.

Evaluations at the end of the meeting showed that most of the people in the area are "aliens € and are therefore not registered as voters even though they were born and raised in Zimbabwe. As a result they have been side-lined from key political processes and given up on voting.

Post-performance discussions highlighted that the people in the area have normalised abnormal situations and are incapacitated to demand accountability from office bearers. The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition however reiterated that voting is not the only way of participating in political processes, but also demanding the right to vote serves as another form of participation in political processes.

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