Echoes:People are not that stupid

The just-ended harmonised elections have left a lot in their trail — from ecstasy to anger.

Report by Conway Tutani

Now we are back to the daily grind, it appears some people were totally unprepared for the emotional upheaval they are experiencing now that the elections are over. Denialism and the blame game has taken over. Indeed, the just-ended polls have been the most contested and stressful since the 1980 polls which ushered in independence. Dubbed “make-or-break”, they lived up to that as many political careers have not only been left in tatters, but completely disappeared. Indeed, there were many shocks and surprises, resulting in extreme anger.

“A major election leads to major change — psychologically, that is,” writes Dwight Bain, one of America’s leading turnaround experts who specialises in success after crisis. No matter who wins an election, the unexpected emotional letdown or explosive reaction after the votes are counted can be devastating to many — particularly those who are “over-involved” and don’t factor in the real possibility of loss, which can result in what is called “Post-Election Stress Syndrome (PESS)”, observes Bain.

To give but one case of PESS arising from the harmonised polls, wrote one Gugugu Magorira to NewsDay this week: “Given an option, I will continue to vote for Welshman Ncube for the Zimbabwean Presidency, not President Robert Mugabe or Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. I was personally shocked by the stupidity demonstrated by the people of Bulawayo who chose to dump the capable people for shebeen queens and registered crooks.”

Reminds me of a friend who always says with a chuckle: “Don’t think I am NOT stupid.” I digress.

Magorira is taking out his frustration on voters when he doesn’t really have an excuse — like a wolf that has been angered and will attack anything. There is a feeling of extreme anger and rage at everyone except you and your crew. Did Magorira also take into consideration that the Bulawayo voters saw the stupidity — as he puts it — of voting otherwise? That they can also extend the same “compliment” of stupidity to him? The attack lacks in reality and substance. Such people wallow in their own self-pity to the point of being an extreme embarrassment to themselves and the cause they profess to support instead of doing something positive and practical about their own situation such as their own failings as candidates. There is more of anger than sense in this. Someone feeling that angry will usually have a lack of judgment and inbred hate.

A lesson or two for wooing voters will do for Magorira and the like-minded. First, the objective is not to win arguments; it is to help others see the benefit to them of supporting you with at least a vote.

Second, don’t tell people that their thinking on an issue is flawed or ignorant. Most people do not respond favourably to what they perceive as insults to their intelligence. This lack of respect for the electorate is politically disastrous. People don’t like being told they are stupid and — crucially — the person who says it.

Third, an impressive background and experience is not enough to win elections; you have to connect your policies to the people at their level, not on your terms.

So, Magorira, your observation that: “In Kwekwe Urban, I am told that they voted for a Grade 2 dropout for the love of a Zanu PF T-shirt and they are pinning their hopes on that Amaveni backyard resident” shows how out of touch you are. In other words, get off your high horse!

That said, in politics you need professionals prepared to roll up their sleeves, not gentleman amateurs. From MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, most of the time all we heard were sound-bites, but hardly any report of organising on the ground; the same with MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube, who was given to biting snippets, but hardly anything else. The MDCs contemptuously underestimated Zanu PF. Don’t play with a lion as if you are playing with a domestic cat.

As incumbents, Zanu PF entered into this election with built-in advantages and much more. The State machinery was unleashed, but as we approached the election, Zanu PF rolled out a new policy for a different segment of voters they hoped to attract. Zanu PF’s skill in messaging, fundraising, strategic planning, micro-targeting voters, and getting out the vote — along with the big ugly factor of political thuggery — carried the day.

Tsvangirai did his best, but his best was not enough in the face of this monstrous system and also because of his individual lapses. Under the circumstances, he did as well as could be realistically expected. Said Russian author Leo Tolstoy: “It’s too easy to criticise a man when he’s out of favour, and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else’s mistakes.” It was not Tsvangirai’s burden alone, but the system, shaken to the core, felt threatened enough to launch its most expensive post-independence campaign because of the formidable challenge he posed. The reluctant and recalcitrant system has become more responsive to the people as a result of this. Let’s have fair criticism instead of Magorira’s hateful reference to “deadwood and garbage in the MDC-T”. Politics ought to be more refined than that.

That said, Magorira’s puzzlement that his preferred candidates did not receive the votes which — to him — were so obviously due to them shows he has an inverted view of society. In this fact-based world you need evidence-based notions — not rantings and ravings.

It’s one thing to construct a myth that people in Bulawayo and Kwekwe Urban voted the way they did simply because they are stupid and were cheaply bought. It would be another thing if Magorira & Co kept that myth a secret to themselves, but instead they shout it from the rooftops. Isn’t that political naivety of the highest order?

Should they then wonder why those stupid people did not vote for them?

ctutani@newsday.co.zw

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37 Comments

  1. People simply rejected tsvangirai and with that rejection his ultimate political demise . Hazvigoni kuti angamuka pakadai apa . Pakanyanyisa vakomana .

    1. Freed, you think and write like a coffin maker.

  2. muvengwa munondivengerei

    You forgot to mention one insult by the MDC(T) President chiding voters about praising ZANU(PF) yet you had no underwear.

  3. As a mater of fact, Tsvangirai was criticised from the day he decided to enter politics, not only by patriotic Zimbabweans (we do it publicly) but also by his handlers (who did it in private). And you are absolutely right though, it is unwise to insult the electorate; those who have done so paid the heavy price!

    1. Come on Scot, up your game, we have learnt to expect better than this..surely you do not believe that all Tsvangirayi’s supporters are not patriotic..this is too cheap a shot for your otherwise high standards. Or maybe this is not the original Scot in which case, all is forgiven.

    2. Mugabe insults the electorate everyday and he wins after every five years. How do you explain this strange phenomenon? Those who have rejected him over the years he tells them chillingly that they made a mistake. Please spare us this underwear business.

  4. & neva say Gushungo ‘atopererwa’ coz he z chasing postori voters

  5. Tutani, well written. However it is very easy to criticise with the benefit of hindsight. If you are in the actual game it is a lot more difficult. Sunday Marimo nay Chidzambwa during his feary Dynamos days once said “My team plays week in and week out, while the fans’ preffered teams will remain in the terraces”. Be that as it may, Tsvangson’s inclusion in politics has brought great benefits (and bads) to the country. The bads we all know. Although I have a different take to these so called bads. But as they say there is a silver lining. The land reform (although chaotic) would not have happened when it did. ZPF was actually preventing the land movement before the MDC emergence onto the scene (remember Svosve people were beaten like dogs when they took some whiteman’s land). A new consitution (although its going to be shredded again) would not have been done with a conclusive land clause. Indigenisation, ZPF had to come up with some sort of policy to counter MDC message (its being implemented as if it was planned by a grade 1 pupil though). It would be a great loss if the MDC dies at this stage. We need that opposition to grow stronger so that those presently in power come up with ideas of how to impress the electorate with real tangible developments.

  6. I have yet to see an analyst who factors out the cheating aaand outright intimidation component of this election and still concludes zanu pf would still have won. This renders all analyses mere talk shows bcoz whAt delivered the election to zAnu pf was not any connection with the people but simple thuggery. After saapending 5years explaining their policiess and connecting with the people why would they need to intimidate the same people and engage on cheating at that scale. A boxer bringing a knife into the ring(with the connivance of the referee) and stabbing their opponent can hardly be considered strategic. Mike Tyson knows about all this aafter biting off Hollifield’s ear. Please lets stop stupid analyses.

  7. All along i never bothered to vote, but on this election, seeing that if we don’t vote for a real political leader and principled man,the country was going to dogs, i had to go and vote. I have never seen a dump, blundering puppet masquerading as a Political leader whilst displaying alarming levels of idiocy putting up a brave face promising the nation salvation and yet he is even clueless to the extent of failing to court a decent woman for a wife despite lots of puppet cash from his sponsors. I had to vote, and like most right thinking Zimbabweans, i voted for Bob, and my vote counted.

    1. @Reason. Since you voted for the righteous Bob, who really loves talking about history, rewind to before 1980. Patriotic Front (PF) decided to wage an armed struggle against the perceived injustices of white minority government on the basis of 2 issues. 1 man 1 vote and land ownership. The white government of the time labelled them terrorists and all sort of names and according to the whites, the name calling was very justified cos they threatened the white man’s status. The devastation that followed is immeasurable Many innocent lives were lost in that war at both the hands of ana mukoma and the Rhodies. The PF obviously perceived the sacrifices as justified according to their own targets (1man 1 vote/land). Who decided or gave them permission to embark on such devastating route? In came the white foreigners Russians, Chinese, Yugoslavians et al. who sponsored the “terror” and urged on the “devastation” of the country although according to blacks it was for the good of the country. Did they do this for the love of the black brothers or was it for their own benefit (Cold war).

    2. Why do you show so much recited anger? According to your testimony you voted for a real leader. What is your problem? Whats this outpouring of vulgar and vitriol? You are not the only one who holds the true definition of a leader. Keep your dog (anger) on a shot leash and enjoy your vote.

      1. August, pardon me the above statement in my name is in response to reason or raisin.

  8. You are right Reason. Grace is a very decent firsat lady with an impecable background….lol. Ask all who watched Grace on Dali’s interview.

  9. yahwe chamboko chewaya

    mdc was confident of winning the election after seeing their unwavering support from the unregistered youthful touts . vasingavhote aah sorry better try next time

  10. mAgame why do you continue to talk of rigging, why do you continue to talk of intimidation. Where are you based anyway. I am in the farms, myself my wife, my three children, my 10 farm workers we all voted for Bob. Non was intimidated, we went to vote as a family after the count my workers came to inquire if we had worn. This is one household, multiply that with 600 000 farm beneficiaries. You are actually the odd man out and off cause some Harare guys who are looking for change which will never come.

    1. Family? “My 10 farm workers…” and you are asking who was intimidated?

    2. How did u know they voted your old crook, u intimidated them of-course u shld be webster shamu or some zanu top dog coz those are the only black zims with farms big enough to employ 10 pple hope u are paying them

    3. Clearly u played an intimidation ploy on your workers how did u know all of them voted zpf unless u know something we don’t and if it wasn’t for the gnu u would still have sold your produce for gono’s useless bond paper insult the guy all we want but he brought US $ after tanzwa kurowa ne boma dza gono food for thought

  11. @ Muvengwa, kana chiri chokwadi kuti hauna andaweya ndipopawuno gumbuka kana kurwadziwa. Asi kana nduwe uinayo ha andione mashoko akataurwa na va Tsvangirai achikurwadza.

  12. well said mAgAme this election was more about cheating which was done by zanu in broad daylight otherwise we could be talking about a different scenario right now.Tsvangirai’s only mistake was to trust that Mugabe had become a changed man.

  13. As a matter of fact this reporter used to write rubbish about us farmers and rural population. We dont need advise from commentators in selecting who we want to vote for. In fact those who say we were intimidated are actually under rating our intelligence. Let me remind you that some of us have MBAs. We use our heads, we know who to vote for and why. Tsvangirayi is not our choice and will never be our choice, and by the way we have the numbers.

    1. Vakungodzomotekawo.

  14. Excellent analysis.

  15. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    @ Conway Tutani, dont always put a frowning face, becoz you would look older than your age. Kikiki…ndangotiwo turu.

    1. What’s that in aid of? Can I also have a glimpse of your face and comment?

  16. l really wish that maybe one day someone will tell me what Tsvangirai had to offer. the manifesto just didn’t cut it. true he under estimated his challenge, is it possible that maybe just maybe the majority believes Zanu PF has more to offer?

    1. That day is not too distant.

  17. Mashingap you write like a true ‘white’ landowner. My 10 workers or should it not be 10 workers at my farm?

  18. Makadya tichaona

    Remember the leader who said “mbare residents are totemless” insults!

  19. @Mashingap, I also have an MBA but alas, I don’t have a job, I don’t own a farm, I don’t own farm workers!… Don’t try and insult us stupid. A true leader who disregards the wishes of his followers?!

  20. Zimbabwean politics has become strongly one of personality ahead of theme and policy.

    This is the underlying reason why this nation is falling to such depths.

    Nation building requires selflessness, work and hard thought.

  21. what a bunch of crap! extremist views from whereever are not good and must be denounced. munozviitireyiko nhay makoronyera kugara musina rudo? ruzhinji harusi nhengo dzemapato asi inhengo dzenyika dzine masimba ekuvaka zimbabwe huye kukurudzira hunhu nemagarisanwa akanaka for all its citizens free and feya feya.

  22. Conman Tutani, don’t spew garbage on us. You and MDC are buried six feet under forever and thats what hurts you. Where is the parent Company of NEWSDAY registered? If its in Zim we want 51% and this is not negotiable.

  23. my best friend’s step-aunt makes $69 hourly on the laptop. She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her pay check was $19735 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Here’s the site to read more …. http://www.Day34.cℴm

  24. Agree the people are not stupid, you are. If they were stupid and we agree they are not,they would have voted for the discredited mdc-t puppets.

  25. Only the ‘stupid’ in ZPF are allowed to think that it won fairly.

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