Victoria Falls residents protest proposed mayor selection
Residents of Victoria Falls disrupted their local council’s inaugural meeting this week, where newly elected leaders were to choose a mayor. Those in attendance accused the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party of trying to impose candidates from outside the community.
The meeting at the Victoria Falls boardroom was intended to elect a new mayor and deputy mayor following local elections in August. However, tensions emerged when residents said CCC leader Nelson Chamisa aimed to install specific candidates, including councillors who were not born in Victoria Falls, according to reports.
Protesters questioned why Chamisa would select a favoured candidate who does not adequately represent Victoria Falls. They sang songs rejecting his choices and called for the meeting to adjourn. Residents emphasized their desire for local leadership and accused Chamisa of undermining democracy.
Tensions escalated as residents publicly demanded that councillors select a mayor from within their community. The situation grew unruly as police arrived and urged council members to leave for safety reasons.
Local civic groups said residents rightly want self-determination but acknowledged the delay could affect service delivery. This is not the first time mayoral selection in Victoria Falls has been disrupted by autonomy concerns.
Going forward, the town clerk said council will seek guidance from the Ministry of Local Government on a constructive path forward. The impasse underscores the need for representatives that have community consent. All hope leaders can resolve differences and fulfil citizens’ expectations of responsive, representative local governance.