Polls: You reap what you sow


WITH just about two days to go before the curtains are brought down on the election campaign for the July 30 harmonised general elections, the contrasting styles between the main parties, ZANU PF and MDC Alliance might be a useful pointer as to who did a better job.
The MDC Alliance was first, off the starting blocks, even before the production of a manifesto.
Their leader Nelson Chamisa wasted no time in preaching phenomenal changes he envisaged for the electorate.
But it soon appeared his strategy to woo the electorate with farfetched ideas like the introduction of bullet trains and building airports in rural areas had no takers.
The ideas were seen as confirmation of the electorate’s perception that Chamisa lacked an essential ingredient of national leadership – maturity.
On the other hand, ZANU PF leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, started his campaign almost a month later, selling realistic projects to the people.
Unlike Chamisa, his campaign message anchored on development and job creation resonated well with his Party’s manifesto.
The crowds that kept on swirling at President Mnangagwa’s rallies must have worried Chamisa who now realised that party programmes and not the leader’s age is what mattered.
For, initially Chamisa had hoped that since he was in his forties, all youths would blindly be charmed by his oratory.
On the ground, it turned out President Mnangagwa, the mature veteran politician, was much more popular with the youths than the politically immature MDC Alliance leader.
Personal attacks on him by Chamisa boomeranged terribly.
What is interesting to note, however, is that President Mnangagwa never retaliated, sticking to matters spelt out on his party manifesto.
It is worth noting that President Mnangagwa only mentioned Chamisa once.
That was after his incessant accusations of ZEC, the independent commission Chamisa had taken an active part in creating.
When Chamisa realised he was unlikely to win the July 30 elections, he must have gone down memory lane.
From its formation, MDC, a party funded by Western donors, thrived on violence.
Young Chamisa had already learned ZANU PF was difficult to dislodge through popular vote.
To avoid this route, this time Chamisa found ZEC a soft target.
His attacks on ZEC and its chairman Justice Priscilla Chigumba were meant to justify violence.
Remember the abortive ‘Final Push’ of 2000.
Threats of mass action, night vigils and sit-ins were meant to be updated versions of that ‘Final Push’.
Chamisa’s rhetoric was with the knowledge that he was backed by the triumvirate of civil society, sections of local media and Western donors whose dislike of governments of former liberation movements is a given.
The ban of their planned demonstration by police became inevitable.
However, Chamisa and his MDC Alliance must always respect the rule of law.
Otherwise they might tempt the law ‘to bare its canines for a beefy bite’, as Herald columnist Igomombe would put it.
All this time, however, President Mnangagwa has been preaching peace and unity.
Both friends and foe have enjoyed the peace and tranquility under the new dispensation.
This gives him a big plus in his claim to the presidency.
After all, the overriding function of a State is the maintenance of law and order.


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