10 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Election 2013 Enters Home Stretch


We hail the House of Assembly for passing the draft Constitution yesterday after initially setting the country on edge by unnecessarily delaying on the first day. Next stop, the Senate, there we do not expect delays since by nature the Upper House normally tempers the exuberance of the Lower House.

Time is of essence as we countdown to the expiry of the Seventh Parliament at midnight on June 29.

We hope the Senators will expeditiously pass the Bill on Tuesday so that it can go to the President for his assent.

There are many positive provisions in the draft Constitution that should immediately begin to benefit the people.

We hope the message has got through to all political parties, the passage of the constitutional Bill yesterday marks the beginning of the home-stretch to the harmonised elections, and it bids us all to adopt the spirit of Team Zimbabwe that was shown by the legislators yesterday.

It is time to put aside individual interests and prioritise the national.

The inclusive Government was put in place to foster an environment of socio-economic and political stability in readiness for elections.

And for all its other weaknesses, the inclusive Government has delivered in that regard.

This is why the constitutional referendum was held in such a conducive environment that it delivered the highest voter turnout since independence in 1980.

Already the massive confidence citizens have in the electoral process is evident in the manner they have responded to the mobile voter registration exercise where upwards of 25 000 people registered to vote over a one week period.

It is exactly 50 days to the expiry of the Seventh Parliament, and all indications are that election 2013 is real, the campaign mood is almost palpable.

Given developments on the ground, manifest in the passing of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) Bill yesterday, any political party worth its salt would have realised by now that the campaign has already begun, and it is time to concentrate on the election.

To this end, we hail Zanu-PF for stepping up preparations by gearing for the primaries, this development coming as it does on the heels of the finalisation of the party's manifesto shows that the revolutionary party is raring to go and values the democratic process.

Sadly, the same does not seem to be obtaining in the MDC-T camp, particularly in the Tsvangirai faction, that to this day is still sending conflicting signals to its supporters.

Among the many reasons the MDC-T loses elections is the fact that the party confuses its supporters who instead of registering to vote, are told that their party is boycotting elections or doesn't want them; and the encumbrance of a leadership that spends time grandstanding for the foreign gallery instead of concentrating on drafting policies and selling them to the Zimbabwean electorate.

Throughout the MDC tragicomedy, the obverse will be obtaining in Zanu-PF, which is why the revolutionary party has always bettered the MDC-T at every turn.

It is high time MDC-T leaders woke up and smelt the coffee. Zimbabwe has a credible election management system, which is why they were notified last year that there would be an election this year.

It is amazing that MDC-T leaders expect to win, when they apparently do not work for the victory they hanker for.

Tsvangirai and his group must realise that they are the ones who "rig" themselves out through their obsession with a patently anti-Zimbabwe agenda, campaigning to the wrong constituency, wasting time on trivia, and amazing childishness that sees them behave like student politicians.

We reiterate the importance of realising that elections are not zero-sum games, they yield one of three possible outcomes; a win, a loss or a stalemate. And for every win someone must fail.

Losing out does not necessarily mean fraud, it simply means the other contestant was more prepared and appealing on the day. If all political parties accept this, then we would have solved our politics, which is one of the major hindrances to development.

The political maturity which will enable us to focus on economically empowering ourselves to live decent lives begins with taking the electoral process seriously.

On this score, those in the MDC-T are found wanting, it is high time they be the change they clamour for.

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