In less than 10 days, Zimbabweans go to the polls to decide their future leadership. While there are more contestants, the race for the top office is between the leadership of MDC-T and Zanu PF.
Report by Tapiwa Gomo
Of course other parties are going to be significant in the political jigsaw and balance of power in parliament if numbers fail to balance. And for this simple reason, I have argued that, there are high chances of another inconclusive poll pushing us back into a coalition government.
Ideally there is a nothing bad about. In fact it is good for the protection of democracy and improved accountability.
But what awaits Zimbabwe beyond the elections? Zimbabweans have been patient for a long time now and they have gone from expectations to frustrations and back to expectations with each election.
The hunger for change is so discernible. They want their country back on track. They are tired of being the laughing stock of the Africa. But then who among the parties can offer that change?
Let’s start by looking at Zanu PF for obvious reasons. Zimbabwe is where it is today because of Zanu PF in whatever way one looks at it. They have been in power for 33 years.
They cannot avoid taking the stick for the bad state of affairs in the country today. They are free to blame anyone for running down the country, but it is a
historical fact that they have been in power for 33 years.
In those three decades things have gone wrong. Even when the country was on fire, they demonstrated their lack of flexibility and ability to change or adjust policies to save the country. And that attitude is not likely to change post-election.
But it is party that is good at public relations. They once gave us a war cabinet, a blend of traditional nationalist faces and PHD holders who presided over the tatters of the land reform.
It was obvious from the beginning that the formula would never work simply as because it was based on a policy of arrogance. Of course the result was a hyperinflation and gazillions of dollars in our wheel barrows. They have consistently maintained that arrogance as if the country is in a war situation.
Even as we watch them campaign, there is no evidence that the party will change its policies post elections. Of course, they are likely to do the usual — replacing young blood with new blood while retaining the old dead wood, that has characterised previous cabinets.
The narrative of blaming the west for toilets that are not flashing will remain a core policy directive. Young, influential, successful and unifying face such as Supa Mandiwanzira are likely to make the cut in the event of a Zanu PF win.
There is a growing awareness in the party that they need young and level headed people to sanitise and redeem its lost legacy before it can take the country forward.
But they have an option of taking defeat to the chin and use that opportunity to regroup or they can choose not to have anything to do with politics as they have outlived their time.
While Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T should be credited for changing the political dynamics in the country, they too have not shown leadership maturity required of people ready to govern.
They have used their presence in government mainly to expose, oppose and embarrass Zanu PF without necessarily offering a replacement in form of policies and agenda. Today, as we prepare to vote, it is still not so clear what they stand for apart from being a major threat to Zanu PF. Only God knows, what they will offer post-elections should they win the polls.
But MDC-T is surrounded by plenty of level headed young professionals, who if they presented with good leadership, they can potentially turn the fortunes of the country around. They have also developed a hunch for tapping into Diaspora brains to prop up their intellectual reserves such as Dr Magaisa and a coterie of media personalities to beautify their party.
There are few more good people in the wings, who can help them drive the country into a brighter future. But that will require a good leader, one who departs from the historical ideological trappings of being opposition-minded to one that is progressive and in charge.
Mature leadership is one that is decisive and confident not one that excessively relies on external advice and refuge for every sticky situation when local avenues exist.
Working with Zanu PF was never going to be an easy task; we can only hope that the Prime Minister raises his leadership bar should he win the forthcoming elections.
Whichever way the polls go, one thing should be clear on the agenda. The country needs a better future.
People have suffered enough. They need to work hard with the confidence and full knowledge that they will be rewarded from their sweat, in a politically and economically stable environment.
Our children need to grow up with vision of being part of the future of their country. Zimbabwe has a lot of potential and sadly it is Zimbabweans who have destroyed what should have been a super power of the region.
There is still hope. Pray for peaceful and conclusive elections.
Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa.