Zim must learn from Nigerian elections

HARARE - The just-ended Nigerian presidential elections where Mohammadu Buhari emerged victorious, with outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan gracefully conceding defeat, provides a classic example of how democracy must work.

It is our humble opinion that Zimbabwe must learn a thing or two from Nigeria. The election result revealed that something has changed in the psyche of the Nigerian citizen. For the first time since that country’s independence in 1960, Nigerians have defenestrated a sitting president. The masses now realise the tremendous might they can wield when they act collectively.

It is a lesson that will embolden them. The era when Nigeria’s rulers could take the people for granted is long gone. In the same vein, Zimbabweans must also understand that it is possible to change the political landscape of the country through peaceful and credible elections. The power belongs to the masses and not the elites, who are in the minority.

We want to urge local politicians to be mature enough to respect the will of the people instead of resorting to violence and intimidation just to hang on to power.

There is no justifiable reason why losing candidates must continue to cling on to power when they are no longer popular with the people and have clearly nothing new to offer the electorate. Never again must we allow the 2008 scenario, where the losing candidate — President Robert Mugabe — held on to power.

The moment we stifle democratic principles and derail the will of the people and the country’s economy will never grow. Over the years, Zimbabwe has become a laughing stock to the world due the country’s incapacity to feed itself and by annually exporting graduates to other countries, simply because there are no employment opportunities locally.

Our leaders have no clue on how to revive the fortunes of the economy yet all they care about is staying in power at a time when companies are closing daily, children are failing to attend schools due to lack of money, unemployment rate is skyrocketing, social and health services have irretrievably broken down.

Zimbabwe currently needs strong leaders with capacity to institute serious reforms in education, healthcare, economy, security, infrastructure, power, youth employment, agribusiness, mining, external affairs, cohesiveness of our nation and ridding our land of corruption.

We are sure there are men and women of goodwill, character and virtue across the board that can mobilise to join hands in the reform, repairs and re-direction that will be imperative to put Zimbabwe back on the fast lane of good governance, unity, cohesiveness, development and progress.

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