Zimbabwe: Reform in Zimbabwe - More Than Billboards

Photo: The Herald
These two gentlemen leave the Ushewekunze Tent E polling station in Harare South Constituency, after their bid to skip the queue failed. They pretended that one in the hand-drawn cart was sick, therefore was supposed to be given exception to standing in the queue.

The clash thus between Zanu-PF and the MDC is one between old and new, between rural and urban based communities, and between the older and younger generations of Zimbabweans.

In the movie Our Brand is Crisis, the political consultant, Jane, played by Sandra Bullock was asked if she would work for a candidate she did not believe in.

"I could convince myself of anything if the price was right," she replied. After all, she mused, "Truth is relative in politics."

A fictionalised account of the role of the campaign strategists Greenberg Carville Shrum in the 2002 Bolivian election, a country described as having an "economy in real trouble" with a "fragile democracy", the movie could have been an African election setting. Jane takes a candidate, Pedro Castillo (based on the real life Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada) lagging hopelessly in the polls and propels him into State House. The consultants are portrayed as "the syringe that injects the people's voice" into the campaign, using every trick, fair and foul, to do so, reinventing Castillo as the only man to solve the country's crisis.

There are plenty of such syringes around Africa, with their focus groups, polling, media...

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