Address toxic issues from 2008 vote first

HARARE - While the majority may be looking forward to a referendum and eventually general elections, let’s take a moment to consider what this means, its possible impact on the immediate future of our country.

Let’s ask critical questions now to avoid apportioning blame later, let us know and be clear on what we are trying to achieve. I believe I speak for many when I say big amongst other issues, we are looking for a change in our economic fortunes and should such change occur, to what extent will it be?

We have listened to the contenders take repeated shots at one another but have we — the electorate — taken time to actually make demands of what we want, individually or collectively.

Perhaps we know what we want as individuals but we must stop to think what our country needs.

In such a contentious election, whatever the result, it’s bound to hurt for the loser, very often to alleviate the hurt, diplomats call for a compromise such as our GNU.

The question is why should we vote if the leadership can be negotiated, lets avoid having more talks about talks, it creates a lot of anxiety, uncertainty and definitely retards progress.

Let us not forget that whoever the loser is, they are Zimbabwean, not an alien. Even if they receive only a single vote plus their own of course, they deserve to lose with dignity as their participation is the very cornerstone of democracy.

If everyone, no matter how small, is afforded the chance to participate, all what’s left is for the electorate to make divine inspired choices, and then our country will prosper.

Instead of simply going through the motions of a crisis, also take time to think what impact your vote has on your neighbour or those less fortunate than you.

One might say the needs of say someone in rural Binga are different from those of one say in Borrowdale. Yes, maybe, this is why leaders are chosen at constituency level, but when it comes to national politics it is bigger than the individual needs.

Your vote must reflect compassion. Yes you probably need that vote buying bag of maize to feed your young child, but while at it think of the undergraduate student who needs to get a degree and perhaps start a company which might in future employ or mentor the young child you want to feed with the vote buying bag of maize.

We need to vote by faith, not on small enticing material gains; we need belief beyond our immediate vision.

Are we looking for a bag of beans, or are we looking for sustainable stability where the sky is the limit for all, where access to opportunity becomes like a basic right?

How sharp is our focus and how ambitious are we?

What drives our ambition, is it our stomach or our passion for life.

The timeless benefits we seek can only come to us from God through the leaders we choose. It is wiser to vote for a weak leader who is God inspired than a seemingly strong one whose actions are against God’s will.

Churches and religious leaders of all faiths, you are the champions of conscience. We cannot separate the spirit from any part of our progressive lives.

I imagine someone somewhere reading this is asking, whose God is he talking about?

Well if your faith is that weak, perhaps you should note vote, because voting is about hope and securing a future.

It took some Asian nations around 30 years to industrialise, some nations are sending crafts to space and mars, surely how difficult can it be to effectively feed, medicate and educate the bulk of our population given the now famous abundant natural resources we have? Do we need a miracle government?

Should we fail to manage our governance processes effectively, these resources could prove to be a curse.

On the flip side, if we do it right, we could be an upper middle income nation in 10 to 15 years, given all the technological advances and world trade integration it could even be faster.

The good life can be achieved; all we need is strong ethical leaders with astronomical ambitions and vision, not personal ambition, not a vision to just have happy followers but a vision to create something greater than them.

Such vision is only possible with the deep acknowledgement of a higher power and less regard for oneself and definitely a heavily toned down ego.

At the risk of sounding naïve, I would ask, what has really changed on the ground to enable us to conduct an election different from that of 2008? Besides patriotism, what tangible reason do we have to back the current process?

Do we understand the real issues on the ground that gave rise to the disputes in 2008 and which of those issues have we addressed to date?

It’s all good to write laws and have it all in black and white, but if no mechanisms are put in place not just to ensure compliance but also to enable compliance, we are just wasting our precious time.

A good example is the foreign exchange laws and regulations that were violated possibly by every citizen during the Zimbabwe dollar era. The situation on the ground virtually criminalised the citizens.

I say to you my fellow countryman and women, if the primary causes of the dispute have not changed and those expected to make the changes have not been enabled to do so, then this process may as well lead to pain and anguish for some and ultimately fail the people of Zimbabwe. - Taisa P Tshuma

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