It’s not about Chamisa or ED, stupid!

The political brouhaha is fast reaching a crescendo, with political parties launching their manifestos pasted with unrealistic promises. I am no longer a fan of those, as they have become nothing but pieces of lies, deceit and betrayal.

By Tapiwa Gomo

If we put together all the manifestos produced in the last 20 years, Zimbabwe today would be a conglomeration of booming towns and cities with the word poverty having vacated our lexicon.

Nonetheless, the campaign season is supposed to be an opportunity for politicians to sell their ideas, but equally an opportunity for the citizens to question their aspiring leaders’ ideas.

Flimsy policy ideas have been allowed to persist because their authors are political untouchables. And questioning their ideas attracts the wrath of their supporters.
One can imagine that once they assume power, criticism would not be allowed during their tenure. This is how our democracy is stunted at birth.

In established democracies, aspiring leaders go through the critical assessment process and defend their ideas through debates and question and answer sessions within their own parties, before they face the nation. Aspiring leaders are not given leadership on a silver platter as is in our case. They work for it. They defend their ideas and their credibility. They justify why they are suitable candidates. Citizens are not afraid to question their aspiring leaders.

That critical assessment continues and becomes tougher and tougher as they represent their parties in national elections. And campaigns are never about personalities, but are tied to ideas. Compare the Chamisa chete chete or #Edhasmyvote taglines with Barrack Obama’s “Yes we can” or Donald Trump’s “Make America great again.”

A campaign is supposed to spell out a vision for the nation and not a person. Neither young age nor old age is a guarantee for success, but ideas and how they are implemented. We have aspiring leaders with great visions, but sadly they don’t attract a lot of attention.

The current campaign season has been characterised by a horrifying parochial stupidity, whose effect is none other than the polarisation of the nation along personality cults and the creation of autocrats.

Shamefully, that stupidity is being perpetrated by none other those citizens who are supporters of some political parties. They are closing every space or opportunity for opposing views and threatening to shut down every critical voice that questions their leaders, that hold them accountable, and that check their seriousness to the cause. They are shutting down democracy.

It cannot be ignorance. We are all alive to the poverty situation in which we find ourselves in and how autocracy destroyed what used to be a promising country.

Political party supporters must, therefore, know that by pursuing the politics of cults and creating autocrats, they are acting in their own worst interest. They are denying the country a chance to democracy and postponing it.

Democracy begins when people can freely engage with and question aspiring leaders. There should never be sacred cows.

Because of that gullibility, we are missing a chance to create servant leadership — leadership that mean what it says and accountable to the people.

The mental slowness to realise this mistake and take action to remedy it is an anomaly we will live to regret. Why have our people fallen to what seems to be a congenital lack of capacity to reason in this moment of great opportunity?

Could it be amnesia caused by nearly four decades of oppression or just stupidity that made some citizens oblivious of the fact that the former President Mugabe became an autocrat because he was never questioned or held accountable from the onset? That made it a criminal offense to criticise or hold him to account. He was the prince, the law and omni-powerful. By the time we tried to rectify the situation, it was too late and the consequences of which the nation still endures today. If, they are protected from criticism now, we might be losing a rare opportunity to tame our leaders.

The forthcoming elections are an opportunity to separate issues from personalities. It is not about betting for a best horse, but bread and butter issues, the requirement of which is a leader who responds to the needs of the people and one who accept criticism.

It is not about ED or Chamisa, neither is it about Zanu PF nor MDC Alliance. It is about correcting the wrongs of the past 38 years — autocracy. It is about creating servant leadership described by Robert K Greenleaf (1970) as a servant first. That person should be different from one who assumes leadership by subverting all democratic and constitutional processes, because of the desire to acquire unusual power.

We want a servant-leader whose thrust is primarily economic growth and the well-being of people. A leader who, when all else fails, he succumbs to the wishes of the people by stepping down than use force to accumulate, exercise and hang on to power.

We want a leader who shares power with the people, puts the needs of others first and helps the nation to develop and prospers.

Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa


  1. Yes…we totally agree with the writer & in conclusion that’s why we are voting for Chamisa

  2. At first it was about defeating zanu pf and that required unending coalition talks.

    zany disbanded and donated the whole of itself to the opposition while those coalition talks went on.

    I’m sure if they win, we will still need a coalition to take this country forward.

  3. it’s about the coalition. zanu dismantled itself, donated its whole self to the opposition and started from scratch whilst those coalition talks went on. I’m sure that even if they win, we will still require a coalition to take this country forward.

  4. chamisa kumberi…….kuva ne vision hakusi kunyepa

  5. People like Vision are exactly what the writer is talking about; void of reasoning and perpetuating partisan politics to their detriment. Chamisa’s or the MDC Alliance’s manifesto has not been made public for scrutiny by the electorate but already somebody is clamoring that Chamisa is the real deal – what are you basing that on? My foot, another little dictator in the making and being worshiped by some very funny and yet blind people. Work up and smell the coffee: it’s not about personalities but ideas and the willingness to listen – that is servant leadership.


  7. I agree with the writer that Zimbabwe is full of stupid people. Just after enlightening people on the danger of blindly clamouring for someone, others are doing that again. The writer compared Obama’s “Yes we can” to Chamisa chete chete. Are you people blind enough to fail to discern the difference? Kurai mhani vanhu imi! Let’s have a leader accountable to us. One who convinces us that he’s the real deal. The one with the best polices should find the job.

  8. Not that I support either of the fore-running candidates, but for the record, The MDC alliance’s tag line is not “Chamisa chete chete” as the writer alleges. Its “#GodIsInIt”

  9. on the other hand ED came up with Zimbabwe is open for business which is a great idea and it shows the vision of the country and i think that is why we say ED has my vote. i cannot boldly say Chamisa chete chete when i am not clear of his vision to make this country better. Its all about correcting the wrongs and i dont care abt the age and history of that Leader.

  10. Editor,eish why can’t you air my vision to the people,what is your main problem with facts contributors?

  11. How can you correct a wrong with another wrong? ED has been a part of the rot for the past 38 years and suddenly he becomes Mr. Fixer because he says Zimbabwe is open for business. Wake up from your slumber Mr. Man. Chete kungoti I really can not blame you. Some people havana hanya nehupenyu hwavanorarama because if you surely did, you would not be saying what you are saying. It appears you enjoy kutambura nekuona vamwe vako vachitamburira ordinary life which Zanu has denied citizens for this long.

    1. Or he is part of the rot, he is benefiting from the rot system

  12. Newsday, none of my ten attempts to post my comment today on this site has materialized. What is the problem?

  13. Newsday, none of my ten attempts to post my comment today on this site has materialized. What is the problem? Just asking

    1. Man Kenya, I see you too

  14. in short,the author was censuring Chamisa and his supporters for being blind followers and for Chamisa for not opening himself to criticism.

  15. Give all parties equal space on national television vanhu vazvionere vega…


  17. When u call those who dont suport u pasi ne mhandu then there is something seriously wrong. Without accountability even your Chamisa chete will become an autocrat

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