Electorate must be wary of vote buyers

HARARE - The year 2018 has begun in earnest and the keenly-awaited harmonised elections are fast approaching.

The electorate must be careful as sitting and aspiring legislators have started making beelines to different constituencies in the country.

The major purpose of the visits is to coax the ordinary citizen into voting for them come the next election.

At times they take with them loads of goodies which they use to buy the voters. It is a double tragedy for some constituents for they have previously lost lot through misappropriated Constituency Development Funds (CDF).

What is perhaps critical for voters is that they should be able to make their choices free from any possible coercion that may come from aspiring legislators.

A number of them have not moved from their past modus operandi where they would force voters into submission through intimidation and sheer violence targeted at any dissenting voices.

Poor performance by legislators is a cancer that cuts across the political divide in the same way the CDF abuse took place.

For this reason, the electorate must take stock of what their respective legislators delivered during their five-year terms or even beyond for others.

Most constituents are aware of the problems that bedevil their communities among them the provision of safe drinking water, poor road networks that have worsened with decades of neglect as well as connectivity challenges which are inconsistent with the current global technological trajectory.

With the exception of a few legislators, the bulk of them have been guilty of this transgression. Of course, there are some whose performance has been stellar and they must not fret over being painted by the same brush.

The legislators themselves must remember that the electorate is not that daft. Gone are the days when they would be pushed into submission by greedy politicians and they still retain some measure of autonomy to make free choices in national political decisions.

In the past few months, several politicians have been visiting their constituencies for the first time in five years but the people are now mature and know they will use their vote to respond to such situations.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has already promised that the 2018 elections will be free and fair, leaving legislators — both sitting and aspiring with huge tasks to convince voters to pick on them.