Opinion / Columnist
Leaders should listen to the people
12 Feb 2013 at 14:54hrs | 2427 Views
Expectations of leadership renewal across the political divide, during the forthcoming plebiscite, have reached fever pitch, in all constituencies in Zimbabwe. Aspiring candidates are making their impressions and intentions known by the electorate. Interestingly, the electorate is watching the events unfolding with great interest and at times great suspicion.
The response by the electorate to the aspiring candidates, in most cases has been premised on the wait and see attitude. As if to say, "we have been deceived enough", the electorate is playing its cards carefully by the chest. They have seen promises and expectations thrown through the window, by the same people who before the elections showered them with heavenly promises. Surprisingly, aspiring candidates, never learn from the mistakes of the sitting Members of Parliament.
The President and First Secretary of ZANU PF Cde. R. G. Mugabe as well as the ZANU PF National Chairman Ambassador S. K. Moyo, among other leaders have made it clear that there shall be no imposition of candidates or reservation of any constituency for candidates. The party is leaving it to the people to choose representatives of their choice, who will derive their mandate to lead from the electorate. The party is calling upon the people to recommend candidates who will lead the party in the new dispensation and complete the revolution on economic empowerment and agrarian reform which the party has been ceased with for the past ten or so years.
The call and expectation by the party seem to fall on deaf ears on some comrades who seem bent to further the interests of the opposition. In some constituencies candidates are being imposed on the people by some members of the provincial leadership. Pseudo projects are being initiated and forced on the electorate to hoodwink them into accepting them as the preferred candidates. Some members of the provincial leadership, without the mandate of the party, are addressing meetings purporting to represent the party yet they are championing the interests of their preferred candidates.
As if that is not enough, if the constituency has other aspiring candidates, these are sidelined and castigated by the same group, thereby creating factions in the constituencies. These devisive tactics are breeding hatred and division among the electorate which might work in favour of the opposition.
ZANU PF does not need such kind of electioneering especially when the party has not yet pronounced the modus operandi of the primaries. The unity which was the cornerstone of the party during the struggle should be prevailing at this very important time. The leadership in the constituency should be moderating the contestation by the aspiring candidates rather than siding with "money splashing" aspiring candidates whose intentions to occupy the seat are more personal than people driven. Hence these candidates are ready to do anything to get the vote.
Contestation in the party is testimony of thriving democracy, but that should not divide the party and its electorate. The provincial leadership, and the district leadership should facilitate this contestation without favour, so that the best candidate according to the people can win. The provincial and district leadership should know that the debacle of 2008 is not an option this time around. They should know that what one does behind in the ballot box cannot be bought by any amount of money. People now know well that business people are not necessarily leaders. Imposition of candidates on the electorate is just a recipe for another disappointing embarrassment by the opposition. As such ZANU PF should be wary of these tendencies that seek to perpetuate the current inclusive government. ZANU PF has no sacred cows hence leaders should heed the call of the President of the party, not to impose candidates and exercise their right to vote in a free and fair peaceful election.
The people know who they want and should be allowed to judge and make their choices known through the ballot, be it in primaries or harmonised elections. Parcelling goodies, instant and short-term unsustainable developmental projects such as the now popular chicken raring, revival of short term sporting activities, are just some of the over used methods to lure unsuspecting people. No inducement by any means will sway the people's views and expectations on who they will vote for. ZANU PF aspiring candidates should understand that people's views and expectations are paramount than personal ambitions.
The people are ready to decide. Their voices need to be heard. They are ready to choose and leaders should listen lest ZANU PF give some constituencies to the opposition. The people are ready to put the inclusive government behind them by voting into power their choices, hence leaders must listen to what the people say.
Source - Kennedy Mapesa Mandaza, ZANU PF SA Secretary for Information and Publicity
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