In Zimbabwe, as in other countries, election times are exciting times. As we get closer to the polling day on the 31st of July the stories and plots get more intricate and exciting.
From free food and campaign rhetoric to rallies and blatant hypocrisy; election season is well and truly upon us.
Our people would never starve…
“If we had elections every month”, a friend recently remarked, “our people would never go hungry.” He was referring to the flagrant vote buying that is being witnessed across the country as we approach Election Day. Foodstuffs are being given out to people in an effort to entice them to vote for the “generous” donors. It was reported in a newspaper that at one ZANU PF rally there was a stampede to get the free bread on offer.
…and they’d have clothes in abundance
I witnessed this myself two days ago in the village; people were being given T-shirts, baseball caps and yellow flashlights with the president’s face and the logo of the ‘revolutionary party’ on them.
The reasons for getting the T-Shirts and caps are many and varied – genuine need, genuine party supporters and for security reasons. In the past having ZANU Pf regalia and membership cards has proved to be wise.
Indeed, if we had elections every month we’d probably have to contend with obesity, our people would never lack clothes and we’d get to see our parliamentarians more often.
Oh, and by the way, vote buying is a crime- one punishable by up to two years imprisonment. Even though I don’t have much faith in our courts, as aspiring lawmakers these comrades should respect the law.
But they don’t care about the people, why should they care about the law?
The same people who ruined our economy and made sure that we cannot buy our own food and clothes suddenly become magnanimous during election time.
The people of Zimbabwe must punish these shameless pretenders in the ballot box on the 31st.
Special vote chaos
And speaking of the ballot, the special- or advance, as they’re known elsewhere – votes of this past Sunday and Monday were marred by chaos. Less than half of the 70000 – a figure hotly disputed by some- special voters cast their votes.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which had previously said it was ready to hold elections was badly exposed. Predictably some comrades blamed the chaos on the MDC formations.
According to the law once you apply for special voting you can no longer vote on normal polling day. So I was surprised when the President and ZEC hinted that those who failed to vote might be able to do so on the 31st.
But even barring legal constraints there are logistical ones: The majority of special voters are police officers who will be on duty on election day. Now our voting is ward based meaning no one can vote outside their ward. Obviously most policemen will be on duty outside their wards on election day. How they will cast their votes therefore remains a mystery.
And it also raises two important questions: Firstly, the whole point of special voting is to make sure that there are enough security details at the polling centres, election command centres, on the country’s roads and for other duties policemen normally do. Who then will man the polling stations, control traffic and arrest political thugs if the majority of policemen will be voting?
Secondly, if ZEC couldn’t make sure that less than 80000 eligible voters voted over two days how does it expect to handle 6000000 potential voters in a single day? You do the maths.
President Mugabe’s supporters and advisers do him great disservice
In addition to other factors that make President Mugabe’s reelection difficult, his supporters are surely making it impossible. Whilst he is preaching peace some thugs belonging to his party are busy intimidating people and in some cases beating them up and force marching them to rallies.
His advisers are not helping either. They should tell him that the electorate is no longer as moved by the liberation mantra as it used to be. Approximately 70% of Zimbabweans were born after independence. This, of course, also means that 70% of Zimbabweans know of no other leader except President Mugabe.
After his impending defeat he should fire his advisers and hire young and capable ones in preparation of a powerful return in 2018. I am willing to be part of that ‘historic’ team.
As Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s face wins elections
This election will be remembered for many things but I think two will stand out: President Mugabe’s age and Prime Minister’s Tsvangirai’s face. The first is a matter of national importance for obvious reasons whilst the latter has been made national for less obvious reasons.
You see the First Lady of the nation, Amai Grace Mugabe, thinks the Prime Minister is ugly. Whilst it is normal for people to think all sorts of things about other people the First Lady went a step further when she aired her sentiments for all to hear.
So she must have been surprised when- and if- she heard that some comrades recently expelled from the MDC are fighting for the right to use Tsvangirai’s face on their ballot papers. They claim, rather stupidly, that the Premier’s face is not protected by copyright law.
Among the many things to be learnt from this election is this: You need Morgan Tsvangirai’s face to win elections. Even in ZANU PF. Of course some of us have known this all along- all those who left Tsvangirai have seen their political fortunes waning; ask Job Sikhala, Gwisai, Welshman and the rest.
There have been many rallies in the past two weeks from all political parties. I have attended a few myself. Last week I heard the PM speak in Mucheke stadium and surprisingly there wasn’t a single policeman at the event. No disorderly conduct or violence either- a harbinger of great things to come I should say.
Anyway, these rallies have also been used as propaganda tools. Some small crowds are said to be in their “hundreds of thousands” whilst bigger ones are said to be “tens of thousands” depending on the person addressing the rally. The comrades at the Herald probably have a problem with counting or- as I’ve said before- are just plain dishonest.
Speaking of rallies, President Mugabe will have only ten (10) rallies compared to his rival PM Tsvangirai’s 57 in the run up to the national elections on the 31st. Considering their ages this is perfectly understandable- President Mugabe is 89 whilst PM Tsvangirai is a sprightly 61.
My only concern is that I think 10 rallies are inadequate for President Mugabe to bid farewell to the people he has led for so long and so devotedly.
…and survival tactics
A friend of mine in Mashonaland called and told me about the situation there. ZANU PF regalia and posters everywhere, he said. He told me that he has received the caps and T-shirts but he was dismayed since he does not particularly like politics. I told him to support ZANU PF, wear their T-shirts, drink their beer and then vote MDC. That is the art of surviving- deception.
Besides it makes much more sense to stay alive and then vote for a better future. I call it supporting the present and voting for the future.
I hope our elections will be peaceful and fair
I hope these elections will be peaceful and fair. I fervently hope and pray that there will be no violence.
I expect fairness so I will be fair myself, fairness begins with me!
Therefore I will grace ZANU PF’s rallies with my presence and vote for the MDC. That way everyone is happy.