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Elect leaders with a vision

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Last week we carried a story titled Zimbabweans are afraid of elections in which Zimbabwe Electoral Commission deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe openly stated that the electorate is scared at the prospect of elections.

NewsDay Editorial

“There is fear out there. People are afraid of elections. That fear is real. There is also fear of the unknown. It will take time to remove that fear . . . Voter education is there to remove that fear,” Kazembe said.

While we agree with Kazembe that voter education is crucial to remove this fear from the electorate, we also believe that voter education should teach the people to go beyond merely exercising their right to vote; it should enable them to vote for leaders with a positive vision for national development.

In the forthcoming polls, voters should be made aware that Zimbabwe now requires a new generation of leaders to build the country’s economy to a competitive level globally for the benefit of citizens.

The electorate should be taught that leaders should be voted into power not on the strength of their sloganeering and demagoguery, but on the strength of their vision and commitment to nation building.

Zimbabwe’s problems since Independence emanated from leaders whose focus was narrowly confined to self-enrichment, patronage and party politics. Voters should be disabused from voting such people into power. They should elect leaders with a powerful vision for sustainable development etched in strong participatory democracy.

We need leaders with a concrete vision for the future. We should have leadership characterised by creative dreamers who can embrace globalisation, leaders who do not dwell on past achievements — real and perceived. This is where voter education counts, for it is the electorate that can elevate people of such calibre to the corridors of power.

The electorate also has the power to kick out leaders who think the country belongs to them and a few of their friends and relatives. Such people have no sustainable vision for the growth of the country and they must not be in positions of power at all. Voters should understand that through the ballot, they wield more power than politicians who intimidate them.

In fact, their power as voters is permanent unlike that of politicians that is temporary for it depends on the very same voters they intimidate and treat with contempt.

So as we approach elections, those concerned with voter education should teach the electorate about their power to elevate visionaries into leadership positions.

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