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Political parties should respect voters

THE election season is upon us once again with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga promising youth in Bulawayo that government will create more jobs for the constituency.

THE election season is upon us once again with Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga promising youth in Bulawayo that government will create more jobs for the constituency.

Drumming up support for Zanu PF candidates ahead of the Saturday by-elections, Chiwenga said: “We will create working spaces for youths and women who will be assisted with loans from the Women’s Bank and Youth Empowerment Bank and we will ensure that every house gets title deeds.”

The by-elections come after Citizens Coalition for Change’s self-proclaimed interim secretary-general Sengezo Tshabangu recalled opposition lawmakers and councillors arguing that those recalled had ceased to be members of the political formation.

Back to the Chiwenga promises. A visitor to Zimbabwe would have thought that it had dawned on government that youth and women have no conducive workspaces.

Far from it, they are the usual promises made over the years. We do not need an election for the youth to get conducive workspaces and loans for their businesses.

Most of the youth, which include unemployed graduates, have never seen a payslip in their lives. They have never contributed to a compulsory pension scheme, which means they will have a rocky future when they reach old age.

Government needs to put in place a programme to cater for the burgeoning youth population and capitalise on the demographic dividend. Its failure to cater for the youth has resulted in a demographic bomb which has seen the constituency engaging in drug and substance abuse, creating a lost generation.

Chiwenga said government would build more schools in Cowdray Park as learners in the suburb were walking long distances to access educational facilities. Zimbabwe has a backlog of 2 800 schools.

“This is not mere talk but something we will do because we are not just a talking leadership, but we speak what we do,” Chiwenga said.

In the run-up to the 2018 elections, the ruling Zanu PF party promised heaven on earth saying its candidate President Emmerson Mnangagwa would revamp the health system and end power cuts, among other promises. The healthcare system is on the brink of collapse, thanks to years of underfunding and corruption.

The power cuts are still with us and the employment opportunities promised five years ago have not materialised.

Politicians from across the political divide need to take citizens seriously. Voters are not robots that can be remotely-controlled. They know the political party which has been lying to them for decades.

Even if they are to get some goodies at rallies, they know the candidates they will vote for.

While the ruling Zanu PF party has every right to grab the “manna from heaven” provided by Tshabangu, it should refrain from making new promises before fulfilling past ones.

As American theorist Thomas Sowell once said, politicians are not trying to solve other people’s problems but theirs. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind, Sowell said.

The voters have been dribbled before and they know that they are the final arbiters in an election.

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