It's election time

HARARE - Now that the major political parties, Zanu PF and MDC have filed nominations to contest for Parliamentary  and Senatorial seats, and the presidency, it is game on!

There is no more going back and Zimbabweans are also geared for the vote that will be a determining factor for the next five years. 

The ball is now in the Constitutional Court as judges there have to hear constitutional arguments relating to the actual voting date.

It is everyone’s hope that the election be done with so that Zimbabweans could move on and reconstruct the country.

Zimbabweans should take the coming vote seriously. They should go and vote, because without their vote their voice is not heard.

While we have Zimbabweans from across society complaining about government’s faults and talking about changing it, it will not help if they do not vent their anger with the pen.

The problem with society in Zimbabwe today is the reluctance to vote or even register. 

While all the well-to-do, the student activists, the unemployed youths and the single mothers complain bitterly in buses and meetings that change of leadership was not forthcoming in Zimbabwe, they do not want to participate in the vote.

They would rather look from afar, and complain of political violence and fraud, but they do not want to partake in constitutional matters like this decisive vote.

There is no one who will fight for us Zimbabweans. We can only liberate ourselves if we take time and register to vote, and vote.

While the voices that grumble about the deterioration of living standards continue to be heard far and wide, they are not complemented as voters are always shying away from the ballot.

The youths have a lot to gain from choosing a government that will address their immediate needs.

There are no jobs on the market as companies and factories are closed. Those coming from universities and colleges have had to resort to selling air-time along streets.

But the coming vote can change the youths’ lives.

A new focused government can bring hope to the thousands of youths who wander the streets in vain.

It is time that the youths go out and register so they can vote.

This is their best chance to give birth to a new political dispensation.

Already there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel as most of the sleeping MPs were booted out of Parliament by an electorate that felt cheated by their disservice. Most of those MPs voted out were lazy, incompetent and dull.

Others were only visible on campaign days and disappeared for good only to resurface a few days ago.

But the people said NO.

It is time that voters chose their MPs and Senator wisely if they are to have their constituencies developed satisfactorily.

They need to vote for legislators who are alert to opportunities; who can put together sound projects proposals and be able to develop conduct with the donor community.

There are a lot of funds lying around with donors failing to utilise them because there are no sound projects being forwarded to them.

One wonders what kind of an MP or Senator that fails to woo donors in an entire five years he is in office.

In the past those legislators were lucky because people used to just vote for parties, and not individual personalities.

But the communities have since awakened to the fact that it is not the party that does the work, but the individual, hence show him or her, the door.

Today voters are wiser and they are looking at the candidate’s standing, intelligence and understanding of community based issues.

Both Zanu PF and MDC woke up to the reality of losing, as long serving and trusted party cadres who thought by virtue of their closeness in hierarchy were invisible, bit the dust.

With Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe having presented their candidature to contest the presidential race, the marathon will be for the fittest.

Tsvangirai has an edge over Mugabe, health and age wise.

While Mugabe, 89 has been out overseas seeking medical treatment possibly because of complications associated with advanced age, Tsvangirai, at 61 is bubbling healthy.

In the past presidential election campaigns Mugabe seemed to ‘dose’ himself to last the race — whatever magic he uses to look ‘over healthy’ during elections is to anyone’s guess — but he lasts.

His star rallies are aided by state machinery, from the helicopters he uses to the alarming police numbers and secret service agents patrolling his ground.

But for an energetic Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe is not so big that he cannot cover it by road. He still oozes with energy and can last.

There is not much time left really, be it July 31, or August 14.

Packaging and proper financing of the campaign will win the day. Election campaigns do not come cheap because there is need for paid marketing — newspaper and television adverts.

There is need for campaign materials that include T-shirts, Cap-hats, flyers and posters.

Properly funded campaign teams and strategists need to be on the ground to mobilise and persuade voters.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai will make sure their brands are well packaged and this will obviously embrace the role that First Lady Grace Mugabe and his family will play.

Equally, the Premier’s wife Elizabeth will be a focus as his husband campaigns as she will certainly accompany him.

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