Manifesto better than demos

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AS political parties approach the homestretch in their campaign for the July 30 harmonised elections, a party manifesto is a crucial document if messages from ZANU PF and the MDC–Alliance are anything to go by.
There are over 120 political parties but attention is focused mainly on the two major parties with representation in Parliament.
ZANU PF has produced a manifesto which spells out how the revolutionary party intends to transform the country into a middle-income economy by 2030. The message is simple and clear.
On the other hand, the delay in the publication of a manifesto from the MDC–Alliance camp is self evident.
There is no discernible underlying theme from the messages delivered from the so-called over 50 major countrywide rallies by the MDC-Alliance so far. The late launch of a manifesto is telling.
The messages delivered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa are in tandem with the ZANU PF manifesto. Throughout his rallies, the President goes beyond talking about unity, fighting corruption, development, re-engagement and job creation.
The underlying theme of the manifesto is concretised by practical examples. The absence of hate language in the President’s speeches is in itself a unifying tool. Unity is further strengthened through tolerance.
The provision of democratic space which allows pro-violence parties like the MDC-T and its allies to demonstrate at will augurs well for unity. The establishment of an anti-corruption unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet is further evidence that the fight against this scourge is not mere lip service. Re-integration and the promotion of development programmes are not ideals just in the manifesto but are seen in operation almost on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the MDC-Alliance does not seem to have any clear-cut message. At one time their leader Nelson Chamisa looks comfortable selling outright lies at his rallies. These include being promised a
US$15 billion rescue package by non-other than US President Donald Trump if ZANU PF loses the July 30 harmonised general elections.
Not only that. There was also the tale of an invitation from Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth to visit the UK and the giving of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame an introductory ICT lecture.
The electorate has been subjected to even more.
Some of his messages sound more like what HardTalk presenter Stephen Sucker likened to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ promises.
How else can one explain myths about goats making use of WIFI, airports in rural areas and bullet trains between Harare and Bulawayo.
All this because the MDC-Alliance still had no manifesto to refer to as their guide. No wonder one follower of Chamisa’s speeches advised him to have his rally speeches written down to avoid humiliating utterances by their leader. As it is, the MDC-Alliance seems to be realising that the belief they had that they had overwhelming support when they were campaigning alone is illusory.
What Chamisa thought were huge crowds at his rallies are now being comprehensively dwarfed by those of President Mnangagwa.
Of course, the ZANU PF message in their manifesto being articulated by the President is appealing to the electorate.
This explains the big turnout at rallies. The futile attempt by Chamisa’s MDC to substitute a manifesto with mass demonstrations is more likely to cost them a few more votes. May be soon, we shall see a plagiarised document referred to as the MDC-Alliance manifesto.
Last time, Tendai Biti had courage to tell his colleagues that the MDC had lost to ZANU PF because of an inferior manifesto as opposed to the magical powers of ‘Nikuv’.
Biti’s observation might again become handy after the July 2018 polls.

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