LUPANE villagers were up in arms over underdevelopment in their area on Wednesday and accused the constituency MP Martin Khumalo of disappearing and resurfacing at election time leaving them with no one to raise their concerns.
About 180 villagers who attended the Bulawayo Agenda and Lupane Agenda public meetings in Emzola and Menyezwa wards said they were angered by lack of development, particularly of roads, clinics and schools.
“We are tired of this stagnation. We need leaders that are brave and capable of moving us to the next level of development. Schools are crumbling. Roads are unusable during the rainy season and we need more clinics here,” a disgruntled villager at Emzola ward said to loud applause.
Another villager from the same ward, Manotsha Nyoni, said they were unhappy because their Zanu PF MP had continued to ignore them on matters of development.
“Since elections he has been quiet,” Nyoni said.
“We rarely see our leaders. Our leaders only come to us towards elections and then they disappear after we vote for them.”
However, Khumalo told Southern Eye yesterday that he planned to meet villagers in his constituency on a weekly basis.
“Every week I will make sure that I have a meeting with the people to discuss issues of concern,” he said.
“On Monday, I had a meeting in Emzola Ward and I even left late to drive to Harare for Parliament, so these people cannot say that they haven’t seen me since I was elected.
“I am MP for 14 wards so surely I couldn’t have met with them all by now. It is too early as I have only been an MP for two months,” Khumalo said.
He said civil society organisations were not inviting him to public gatherings they hold in his constituency and claimed this was giving him a bad name in Lupane West.
“I did not know that there was a meeting there yesterday. They just want to complicate things,” Khumalo said.
“I received a call from Bulawayo Agenda last week while I was in Harare and we agreed to meet when I got to Bulawayo, but they never got back to me after that.”