Rural areas a delicate political domain
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Finance Minister Tendai Biti on the Friday of 16 November 2012 put aside a total of US$50 million in allocation for a constitutional referendum and the general elections this year, 2013. This announcement on the budget created certainty on the imminence of elections, whose existence has since attracted a considerable revolt from people found across a various sectors.
The business world has condemned this, citing the move as a possible de-stabilizer that will raffle investment opportunities and disturb business operations especially before the UNTWO which in its capacity is expected resurrect tacit economic activities in the country if capitalized on.
In a number of communities around the country, one is welcomed by the reality of President Robert Mugabe's election call which has already put the country into a top gear election mode with political party primaries and the launch of campaign rallies being banners of compliance.
Before any ballot foolery and suggestion of people into positions of power, or rather, of advantage and liberty, I am more obedient to spewed manifestos and professional mandacy. But where lies are targeted to the rustic, who by nature and making are defenseless, I oft wilt.
Whether a lesson was learnt from the 2012 held election in the United States is affirmed by the country's political maturity and also an understanding level of Zimbabweans in electoral processes. The Mitt Romney and Barrack Hussein Obama campaign was seen as an utmost display of sane politics in most respectful reckon. The white house battle sailed through washed clean with minimal violence recordings. It is a fallacy though, to succumb to political lure although at times, one has to admit there is not yet a way of circumventing these political blockades.
As the 2008 election gig continues to haunt Zimbabweans today through its reportedly violent nature, there is an amount of fear in every electorate for violence recurrence in this year's elections. The elections, albeit continued calls for people to remain peaceful by the president, remain uncertain. Tendai Biti, during last year's budget presentation warned that the biggest risk remains a violent and contested election. He said the repeat of the 2008 bloody presidential run-off would collapse the nascent foundation that has been built over the last three years.
But whichever way, an election has been found to be the most fundamental essence that defines a country's democratic foundation. It should be a time where the generality of people in a country give a voice in the placement of desired development trustees. It is therefore a central constitutional provision.
Even politicians are powerless to contest this electoral ‘scientific fact'. It can be noted that a successful politician is one who establishes village level/ cell level acceptance without only concentrating on luring the urbanites. Zimbabwe's rural –urban statistics supports with a strong justifying sense to this strategy.
But before provoking rural people's calmness, does one need to undergo some form of penetrating preparedness. Or does one from a pre-conceived imaginary mind of a hassle-free community acceptance, just unpack one's election package in a go, careless of how the rustic folks would receive those packages?
When people are fed up with some kind of governance, it should be understood that the idea if far from the desire to change/ replace a tired face with a fireball. The reason is a humanitarian one, where the people notice a deteriorated livelihood and yearn for sustainable pillars of social security.
It is interesting to notice politicians resurfacing from their hibernatory ponds awakened by the brevity of time left before the holding of the next election. One wonders how such a devastating poverty resident in rural areas is oft overlooked for a long time. Should this spell to us feigned Samaritanism from our Presidential candidates, parliamentarians and all those who buy us with last minute corns. In Binga where people are adorned with river full stereotype and government isolation, it makes little sense when one comes with purported political and social reforms whose nuances cannot claim a promise of a substantial rural upliftment .This is an archaic and belated showcase. In any progressive society, such a denigrating humanitarian conduct is mooted, disregarded and taken for a head-on attack on the fundamental substance of human value. This hypocritically pious parade of sacrosanct make up will not last long.
Erratically backed agricultural processes in rural areas continue to force rural people out of hope. I single out agriculture for there is no other sector whose carrots have been overly dangled on the poor rural people's nose. Zimbabwe's Matebeleland North records the highest poverty ratios as compared to other regions. This tells then of a story of great suffering and a constant yearning for betterment. Despite having obtained a stronghold in other regions, even ZANU PF cannot afford to take a cozy snooze. In rural communities where political camps had won favor, reliance on history could mislead.
People find it amusing and a giddy act of self-doubt seeing some presidential candidates turning into midsummer clowns when they engage in humiliating human vote fundraising. In the past election of 2008, Simba Makoni, leader of Kusile Mavambo Dawn (KMD)could not think of any other sentient method than waiting at bar counters to pay for anyone who showed up to purchase alcohol in fetid beerhalls. I wonder how that exalted fool's paradise could possibly earn a person a gate nod to State House.
In rural areas, we instantly die the moment we succumb to short stringed political lure. It is fantasy to believe change can be brought about a two second ballot dock confession when the people's suffering has been left to soar for years for reasons of amplified social condemnation that seek change which beautified manifestos would then address.
The country's 9million will certainly not disappoint any faithful political party, instead, it will raise it to victory as it has done for ZANU PF over the years since 1980's post- independence polls. One should then not ask further why the party came up with projects with an agrarian inclination.
Apart from diffusing a significantly nerve wrecking amount to TV advertising and metropolitan campaigns, the United States White House race wore a rustic countenance. Its target was rural vote redemption which had dramatically declined comparing to 2008 as voter turnout took an ebb causing a total vote loss of 3million. Seventy percent of that decrease came from Democratic party totals. As a delicate social portion, rural people in the 2012 US elections decided to stay home as a signal to register a morsel of discontentment.
The lesson seems to be that there are a lot of people in rural areas who just can't vote unless they see a good reason to, people who can only vote for perceived promises of displayed social betterment not from the euphoric zeal of political party allegiance. In 2008, a good number of farms and ranch groups in the United States supported the Democrat because the thought he would enforce anti-trust laws in the food industry. It is believed these anti-trust laws came to nothing and hence from shame he did not show up in the 2012 election. Rural dominion therefore went to Mitt.
Political parties should establish foundations that are identifiable with the rural population that display a meaningful party presence in communities. That display of course, should not be after a perennial spell of ignorance. It should not come in exaggerated good samaritaniac resemblance or pseudo-prophetic claims.
Zimbabweans have been known for steadfastness to their beliefs and choices, nothing seems to shake the root of a made up mind in my country. I particularly think it is rotten humanism to trump on poor communities' miseries. I remember a few weeks back or a few days back precisely, government offices where adequately occupied. But, visiting these offices again now, one is prone to hit blank shots. It is my hopes that their abrupt absence from their respective offices of state service are not meant to further cripple the already crippled State. It is in my hopes again that they are not yet another seasonal wave of rural pilgrimages that mollify poor rural people into otiose subservience.
Let the millennium insanity rage on. Katuya buya, bakulindiswe tabolwi a mpondo?
About the writer: Zisunko Ndlovu is a distinct development projects monitor and a celebrated writer from Binga with a strong inclination towards the development of marginalized rural areas. For comments, send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Source: Zisunko Ndlovu
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