It does not matter whether it is going to be next year in March, as President Robert Mugabe says it will be, or any other date Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai or Welshman Ncube may say about the next elections.
Report by Tangai Chipangura
The fact remains — elections are around the corner and Zimbabweans should brace themselves, not only for the violence that has become synonymous with polls in this country and which we all dread, but also for the comic tomfoolery and curious generosity that precedes this silly season.
Evidence already abounds.
People should know elections are not very far off when your local MP recognises you from across the street.
All of a sudden, food is being donated, that road that has been impassable since the last election five years ago is being repaired, and countless promises — falling only short of assuring people eternal life — are coming from every corner.
These are politicians, returning to you after five years of absence; five years of arrogance and impunity; five years of unmitigated hunger in the constituency and five years in which disease and death have haunted constituencies while the MP had his neck slowly disappearing into bulging shoulders and belly dropping to the nether regions due to overfeeding and good living.
The politicians are coming with their common belief: “Get the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything.” Politicians — Zanu PF, Zanu Ndonga, Zapu, MDC-T, M, N or 99, Mavambo, or this new kid on the block, our white cousin by the name Mark Baard who has decided to go for the presidency – are all the same.
Like I have said before on these pages, when it comes to hoodwinking people, politicians are like a bunch of bananas, they stick together, yellow to the core, slippery when stepped on, and not one of them is straight!
What politicians from a certain party in this country should be learning fast, however, is that “you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
Many of them could not have forgotten how, in the last election, they spent fortunes, some of it borrowed money, to dole out vote-buying food and other freebies to thousands of people in their constituencies — and still proceeded to lose dismally in those polls.
Several of them went back to the people, faces puffed like frogs in anger, and like rejected lovers, demanded that the villagers give back the scuds, food, maize seed, fertilisers, and money they had “eaten”. Needless to say, none of them received anything other than laughter and derision.
The people had done the right thing — they had eaten, pretended and dumped the idiots!
Some of them then returned in June, taking advantage of the bloody presidential election re-run, to unleash terror onto the people who had merely exercised their right to choose a leader of their own choice.
This is the lesson that these politicians should be taught. That you do not take the people for granted. There are several of them that have made newspaper headlines for sleeping throughout the entire five years they have been in Parliament. Others made names for bunking debate in the House while others only served to make fools of themselves and their constituencies through thoroughly silly attempts at debate.
Do these politicians really believe the people are so daft that they do not realise that after every five years, when election talk begins, they go back to the people with food and beer in an attempt to win their vote?
The maize in Epworth, loans and funeral assistance in Mabvuku, more maize in Buhera, Bubi-Umguza, Gwanda, Bikita, Mutoko, Mutasa and many other places, is all evidence of shameless, daylight vote-buying which the people must reject.
Zapus national organising secretary Solomon Nhamo was right to tell voters in Gwanda last Saturday: “You should not be used as ladders and screwdrivers. If you are forced to attend rallies of other parties, please go, don’t refuse to attend and if you are forced to shout their slogans, please shout.
“If you are given food or clothes please take it. At the end of the day your vote is your secret. When you are outside you can boast of having voted for a violent party operating in your area. Nobody will know who you voted for.”
People are sick and tired of pretenders that want to take them for fools and will withhold their vote or sell it altogether.
They are fed up with theoretical harangue which they can definitely do without. Dabbling in semantics for the sake of political posturing is in itself a dead end.
People want genuine leaders who bring development and betterment of lives to their areas — not all the literal wet noodles that they have been getting over the years!
The universe is not rich enough to buy the vote of an honest man!