THE 2018 polls, which both Zanu PF and the opposition forces desperately need to win, will be determined by the outcome of the rural vote.
By Pardon Maguta,Our Reader
With the majority of Zimbabweans generally resident in rural areas, Zanu PF has developed tactics and techniques to retain that vote.
The method of instilling fear being the trump card, if the opposition parties are to defeat Zanu PF in any presidential poll they must break the fear that Zanu PF has over the years used to win elections.
Fear of being beaten. Fear of being murdered. Fear of being tortured. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being targeted.
Fear of being displaced. Fear of being harmed etc. This is what any serious opposition organisation must deal with in order to win the elections. Without that, certainly Zanu PF will retain power.
There is so much fear of Zanu PF violence in rural areas to the extent that people prefer to vote for a clueless regime to stay in peace.
Beneficiaries of the fast-track land reform cannot vote freely as they are always threatened with eviction and internal displacement if their polling stations record an opposition victory.
It is up to the opposition parties and other pro-democracy elements to break the fear factor and Zanu PF propaganda which over the past three decades have turned some rural communities into no-go areas for opposition parties.
Breaking the fear and vote-buying must also involve making sure traditional leaders stick to their roles of being custodians of customs and cultures of their respective communities and not dabble in politics.
If the opposition parties can master the rural vote at all cost, Zanu PF will be finished in 2018. There is no way Zanu PF can hit the political jackpot without the rural vote. In the urban areas they have always laboured in vain to produce positive results.
It is prudent for leaders of opposition parties to make numerous and frequent visits to rural areas so that people can identify with them.
Such visits will also drive fear out of the ever-intimidated and lied-to ordinary people. The voters will gain confidence to vote for them.
Securing the rural vote must be the focus of opposition parties in 2017. A lot of effort must be put into this since the 2018 voting will be polling station-based giving Zanu PF merchants of violence the leeway to frighten everyone to vote for the rogue regime’s party candidates.
Failure by the opposition parties to meticulously plan how to win the rural vote will see Zanu PF win hands down.
We must remember that Zanu PF does not mind winning ugly. All they want is victory. So there is no need to waste time, but hit the ground running knowing that you are competing against an opponent who can do anything to win.
It is not over until it is completely over. Therefore opposition parties must never relax and bank on problems facing Zanu PF to win the 2018 elections. If anything, the opposition parties must gird their waist and work tirelessly.
Never should opposition parties allow Zanu PF to fence off some areas making sure voters are only fed Zanu PF lies and propaganda.
People really look forward to see opposition party leaders in action across all rural wards in 2017 as they prepare to silence Zanu PF once and for all in the 2018 mother of all elections.