Electorate persuaded by substance, not hot air

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AS the country anxiously waits for the watershed general elections in a few months, the main concern of the electorate appears to be who is best to solve the economic and other problems the country is facing.
Indeed, when thousands of Zimbabweans welcomed Operation Restore Legacy in November last year, their main hope was to see the resuscitation of the economy.
In his inauguration speech, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was quick to point out that the major challenge was to rebuild the country and bring it back to its feet.
He conceded that the first task was to catch up and eventually surpass our neighbours.
We have no doubt this must be the intention of the over hundred political parties likely to contest the impending general elections.
The electorate will be anxious to know how this will be achieved.
Today, we have an idea about how at least the two major contesting parties, ZANU PF and MDC Alliance, want to go about it.
True, their manifestos are not yet out, but their leaders, President Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa have already hit the ground running.
In these two, a contrast in style, as reflected by their levels of maturity, is already self-evident.
President Mnangagwa appears true to his original pledge to create conditions for an investment-led economic recovery.
And this is spelt out in his now famous war cry: ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’.
He has also spoken about his intention to root out corruption and to inculcate a work ethic that compels his ministers to show results.
Most of his campaign so far has been subtle as he has only chosen to show what his policies can achieve.
The over US$3 billion investment commitments and the recapitalisation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe by a Diaspora group in South Africa can testify.
What is assumed is that all else, be it job creation or solving the liquidity crunch, will follow.
But definitely it won’t come like manna from heaven.
That is why he has never tired of echoing the need for free, fair, credible and violence-free elections.
For investors are unwilling to invest in an environment where development is threatened by violence.
And disputed elections are a surest way of discouraging investors.
On the other hand, the youthful Chamisa has come out with a lot of promises that, at face value, look like the electorate’s dream.
Indeed, we are not very sure what magic wand he is going to wave to end bank queues in 14 days.
Not only that, he is also going to end the currency crisis, with Bond notes never to be seen again, within 90 days.
He has also given us the impression that someone is going to give us US$15 billion gratis to resuscitate the economy.
No wonder he is promising to transform the economy in days.
His youthful imagination also sees him introducing bullet trains with everything they entail, regardless of the billions of dollars the project would gobble up.
To crown it all, he would like to see Victoria Falls become the Las Vegas of Africa.
Las Vegas is that city in the US notorious for gambling, prostitution and homosexuality.
Maybe, his youthful imagination is taking him into a world very much ahead of the Zimbabwe he would like to lead.
And he also has something for Matabelaland, a region he would like to ‘deShonalise’, whatever that means, and leave the country with a Ndebele president when his wish to lead the country comes to an end; when he completes his two terms.
No doubt, Thokozani Kupe, who was recently ordered to go back to Matabeleland in Buhera by MDC–T hoodlums, must be very skeptical of the ambitious young man’s ‘benevolence’.
Probably political parties have not yet engaged heavy gears in their campaigns.
A word of warning though!
The electorate can only be gullible up to a certain extent.
It can distinguish hot air from substance.
Many aspiring candidates have ended up in grief after being rejected by an electorate that prefers pragmatism to rhetoric.

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