In an ideal world there would be no famines, no wars, no genocides, no crime and no poverty. All men would live freely, peacefully and with honour, our debates would not be characterized by lies and demagoguery, our media houses would report the truth and, of course, I would have more money.
There would be little need for political leaders but those we chose to lead us would possess all the good qualities- charismatic, brave, learned, confident, good looking, visionary yet never losing that common man appeal. We would be led by what Plato, in The Republic, calls Philosopher Kings.
In a more perfect world my preferred candidate for President, Morgan Tsvangirai, would be more educated, more comely and more refined.
Unfortunately we do not live in such a world and Zimbabwe in particular is as far away from that Utopian ideal as possible. Yet we still have to choose those amongst us who should lead, imperfections and all.
When Zimbabweans vote on the 31st of July we will have five choices for president: President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube and the rest.
I will vote for Morgan Tsvangirai.
I understand fully what my decision means; I have heard all the reasons and vitriol against him: he is a womaniser, he is uneducated, he is inconsistent, his policies lack depth and clarity and, the more ridiculous ones, he is ugly and ungodly.
Even disregarding the inane reasons, it would be naïve, foolish and dishonest to say there is no truth in what Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s detractors say. Some of the things are true; the majority are irrelevant and unimportant.
I do not care how handsome Tsvangirai or any other politician is; we are going to have an election not a beauty contest.
As for being educated it is no secret that amongst the three main contenders for the presidency Morgan Tsvangirai is the least educated. It is therefore all the more remarkable that he leads the country’s biggest political party- as reflected when we last had an acceptable presidential election.
Additionally, as we have seen time and again, education does not translate to common sense and wisdom. The comrades in ZANU PF, many who are very learned, have presided over this country for three decades and have made poor decisions resulting in catastrophic policies. Ironically they were convinced that pure diesel could come out of a rock- courtesy of the ancestors- by a village hoaxer.
I do not always agree with what the Prime Minister says, and I may not believe totally in his policies but I am absolutely convinced that the MDC led by Tsvangirai is much better than ZANU PF. When I air out my disagreements with Tsvangirai there are no thugs to make sure that I become “politically correct”.
I will vote for Morgan Tsvangirai because he dared to stand up to an exploitative, corrupt and rapacious system. His courage, notwithstanding the beatings and arrests, brought and continues to bring hope to millions of Zimbabweans.
I will vote for Morgan Tsvangirai because he offers hope for our nation to fully realise its potential. Three decades of self-rule later, and with vast natural resources and the most educated populace in Africa, the majority of Zimbabweans are poor while some ministers are as rich as Croesus.
Because I believe in giving others a chance I will vote for Morgan Tsvangirai. ZANU PF has been in power for thirty three years and I think we need new brains to tackle the problems we face.
I will vote for Tsvangirai because I think we need to change the way this country is run and of the two candidates likeliest to win he is the only one who promises to weed out corruption, to fire the incompetent and not to drag us into further international isolation.
I will vote for Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC because there are many youths in the party who I can relate to- Nelson Chamisa, Solomon Madzore, Promise Mkwananzi, Joshua Chinyere, Allen Moyo, Happymore Chidziva and others.
President Mugabe and ZANU PF have fiercely resisted the winds of change. ZANU PF’s policies and approach to disgruntled youths in Universities and Institutions of Higher Learning has been inimical and confrontational. As a result after three decades in power their connection with the youth is weak, there are no youths ascending the ZANU PF political ladder and no clear succession plan.
To me the choice is a no-brainer- Tsvangirai is 61, President Mugabe is 89. Prime Minister Tsvangirai is surrounded by new and capable individuals such as Tendai Biti, Tapiwa Mashakada, Dr Alex Magaisa and Elias Mudzuri whilst President Mugabe offers the same old, corrupt, tried and failed team.
But I cannot hallow- I cannot deify- Tsvangirai. That would be wrong and hypocritical. We are in this mess because we allowed ourselves to venerate certain individuals, to think they are infallible, divine and therefore indispensable. He is not perfect- no man is
That is what elections are always about- choosing the best candidate, not the perfect one.