HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsMy uncle will vote, but he has no reason to

My uncle will vote, but he has no reason to


It is decision time in the next two days.

Develop me with Tapiwa Gomo

Political parties are winding down their campaign trails. It has been a compressed, intensive and marathon campaign period, thanks to the premature proclamation of the election date.

If the seas and swarms of T-shirted people we saw on the pictures is part of the development promise, then surely post-election life is greener, redder or multi-coloured.

It is indeed safer to say the campaign trail was colourful and the T-shirt industry must be the biggest winners and smiling all the way to the bank no matter who wins or loses the next elections.

The question we face today is: Did people attend campaign rallies because of the T-shirts or they were attracted by the policies? To give a fair answer to a question like this, I tend to rely on my rural folks who have a different take on these things.

So I called my uncle in Mashonaland Central province last week to get an insight into goings-on as we head towards the election crunch time.

By the way, Mashonaland is believed to be a Zanu PF stronghold, but he does not think so. So I asked him what policies are going to influence his choice in the next elections.

His response was interesting.  Firstly, they do not understand the language of policies because they do not know of any and have not benefited from one.

Secondly, they only get to meet politicians once in five or six years during campaigns. Everything they have been promised in those campaigns has so far turned out to be promises and lies; and smoke and mirrors.

“Now, how can I trust people that I have met seven times since independence to change my life?” he asked. Half those times, politicians have caused untold suffering to him and his family as they are forced to attend rallies and sing songs that remind him of his colleagues who perished while fighting for the country – a country that has badly let him down.

He would be happy without politicians. He would be happy with good rains as he knows that he can work hard on his old and tired piece of land, harvest and feed his family without having to be fed lies by politicians.  I am sure you can understand his point.

One bucket of maize meal once in five years is the all meaning of post-independence promise since he retired from fighting for the country in 1980. And that does not cut it for my uncle.
But then, he is not only disgruntled about those who have been in power for 33 years.

He is disgruntled about the new political entrants too. He says they launched themselves on to the scene with a lot of pomp, ambition and hope, one that reminds him of the 1980 independence cause. But there is one problem.

Still they speak the language of policies which he and many of his friends do not understand. He accused political parties that oppose Zanu PF of speaking a difficult language which makes it hard to understand.

The only part easier for him to comprehend is when they say Zanu PF must go, which he agrees with, but he does not know why those who say so should be in power either.

The few times he has followed the current campaigns, all he heard are politicians mocking each other.  He has listened to them say Morgan Tsvangirai is not handsome enough to run the country, that President Robert Mugabe is too old for another term in office or Welshman Ncube is too tribalistic to govern.

None of this language, for him, feeds the family and does not appeal to him.

He has also heard some few interesting lines such as wealth to the people chanted by those whose body sizes betray their words.

He also heard about the promise of jobs and yet he knows, he does not fit in the job market anymore.  He was told of JUICE and ACTION documents, but none of them meet his expectations. He is a rural boy whose expectation is to live a simple ordinary life without relying on Google search for meanings of acronyms.

He may be right. Since independence, he has watched his homestead, along what was supposed to be a tarred road since 1980, covered by dust every dry season.

With every election, he has listened to politician after politician promising that one day that road would be tarred.

But each election has caused so much damage to the road, destroying what the communities made for themselves to make it passable for few trucks that transport their agriculture produce.

In his mind, politicians are not only irrelevant, but are in fact a disruption to their efforts and emotions.

Even with that knowledge, he says, he is being forced to vote come July 31, not because he chooses to. He does not know why he should vote, but he will vote anyway because if he does not, his life may be in danger.

Who does not fear danger? He will save his life by casting that X into the box, so he can live another day.
Happy voting!

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