Voters should be free to make choices


IN yesterday’s NewsDay front page lead story, the ruling Zanu PF party Midlands provincial secretary for security, Owen Ncube is quoted as having made some very curious propositions.

The former State Security minister said none of the ruling party’s candidates contesting in this year’s elections for parliamentary and council seats should garner more votes than the party’s presidential candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Ncube is reported to have specifically said: “So our votes should go to baba (father) Mnangagwa because he is the President, the party leader and he is the head of the train. Then we vote for the MP and then the councillors. The President’s vote and that of the MP (Member of Parliament) should not be the same. We don’t want a situation whereby the MP campaigns with his name only. Come August 23, we are going out in our numbers and vote for President ED Mnangagwa.”

This is probably one of the most ridiculous propositions this election season. What a preposterous way to sing for one’s supper in the hope of being included in the next government in the event that Ncube’s party retains the reins of power.

Just out of interest and for argument’s sake, let us say on August 23 at a polling station in Gokwe-Kana constituency where Ncube is an aspiring legislator, a thousand voters turn up to cast their ballots and they all happen to be Zanu PF supporters.

So, according to Ncube, they should all vote for Mnangagwa and maybe 500 or so should then vote for him so that Mnangagwa’s votes remain on top of his.

So who should the others vote for or are they supposed to spoil the ballot paper since obviously voting for the opposition would be out of the question? Are they not free to make a choice?

Ncube’s suggestion is quite telling as it clearly points to the fact that politics in Zimbabwe still wallows in ancient times. If Zanu PF is prepared to stoop so low as to literally “rig” its very own vote, to what lengths will it go to make sure the opposition’s vote is tweaked in the ruling party’s favour?

Is it not true that Zanu PF helped introduce democracy and secrecy of the ballot to this nation? So why does it appear that the party is now so averse to the idea of the country conducting a democratic election in which voters are free to vote for whoever they so wish?

Frankly speaking, does it really matter if an MP or councillor gets more votes than Mnangagwa at any polling station or in any constituency? The voters would have expressed their wishes and their wishes should be respected.

Disrespect for the voter’s wish is the last thing we need in this country because it is a recipe for disputed elections. If some in Zanu PF, like Ncube, are not prepared to accept that Mnangagwa can be less popular than an MP or councillor in their own party, then what stops them from refusing to accept that Mnangagwa can be unpopular across the country?

This mentality is as archaic as it is retrogressive. Zimbabweans should be allowed to make free choices and attitudes being displayed by the likes of Ncube should be dismissed with all the scorn they deserve.

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