By Tafara Shumba
Another by-election is in the offing in Chimanimani West; exactly six Saturdays after Zanu PF suffered a humiliating, resounding and disastrous crush in the Norton by-election.
To live a stress free life, one has to take the bad with the good. In any contest, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. You are never defeated. It was Emmit Smith, a professional American footballer who once said: “I may win and I may lose but I will never be defeated.”
Yet another great thinker, American businessman, self-help author, educator, motivational speaker, activist, financial commentator, and radio personality, Roberty Kiyosaki says the greatest secret of winners is that failure inspires winning, thus they are not afraid of losing.
The Norton by-election provided Zanu PF with an opportunity to learn. Zanu PF is a habitual winner and as Kiyosaki aptly says the Norton loss must inspire the revolutionary party. The mistakes made in Norton must not be repeated in the Chimanimani by-election and other forthcoming elections. As the 2018 harmonised elections beckon, Zanu PF must take a serious introspection and make amends on its approach to elections.
It is refreshing that the revolutionary party has itself pledged that it would not repeat the Norton error in Chimanimani West by-election and other future elections. The politburo and central committee members from Manicaland addressed rallies in all districts in the constituency on Saturday. That commitment raises a ray of hope among the electorate.
Zanu PF is known for packaging appealing messages that resonate with the voters. Even Tendai Biti admitted this fact when he was still the secretary general of the MDC-T.
“Zanu PF in the last election (July 31 2013) had a very simple message, bhora mugedhi. Even a little woman in Chendambuya or Dotito just knew one thing, bhora mugedhi. Perhaps we were too sophisticated... We were selling hopes and dreams when Zanu PF was selling practical realities,” Biti told civic groups and academic leaders at Sapes Trust two years ago.
There was a scarcity of that message in Norton, a mistake that must be avoided in Chimanimani this time around. The hungry voters in Chimanimani need practical realities which they can effortlessly buy with their vote. Their concerns must be addressed.
One of their concerns is the issue poverty. Chimanimani West is a rich area with poor inhabitants. Despite their proximity to Marange diamonds fields, they have nothing to show for it. Their children have not been employed in those diamond companies.
However, Cde Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri is not lost to this concern. She assured the residents at the Saturday rally that she would take that concern to this country’s chief executive officers. “I can assure you that I am going to take that to the President and things are not going to be the same again,” she promised.
Of all the messages that the political elders brought to Chimanimani on Saturday, this one resonated with their hopes and aspirations. However, Cde Muchinguri Kashiri must be reminded that her message was put in black and white in the diary of their hearts. She must plan another journey to Chimanimani West to give the residents an update from the President. Of course things should not be the same again but it has to happen before 26 November 2016.
Zanu PF failed to retain the Norton seat principally because of internal dissension. Hopefully the factionalists have seen the potential that factionalism has in destroying the revolutionary party. This is now time to bury the hatchet and join forces in defence of the revolutionary party. Zanu PF must not repeat the Norton mistake where rallies were used as platforms to attack rivals, perceived or real. There was no message until the eleventh hour when youths were promised residential stands.
Even Temba Mliswa attributed his effortless victory to internal rivalry within Zanu PF. “I simply maximised on the in-house fighting in Zanu PF…,” said Mliswa.
It’s unfortunate that Manicaland is home to some well known politicians who are good at causing dislocation within the party. Manicaland cannot afford to let the seat slip because of a single misguided element. Zanu PF is a big family where everybody must be allowed to take part.
The opposition has been using the impending introduction of bond notes to rake up memories of the 2008 hyperinflation era. The rural folk is been brainwashed and given an impression that Zanu PF government is bringing the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door. That has to be explained to the electorate and demystify the propaganda around the bond note.
Zanu PF’s enemy number one is corruption. The electorate must have confidence that the party is committed to purging the cancerous vice. They want to see what government is doing on corrupt officials whose nefarious activities have caused misery on them.
The pending by-elections both present an opportunity for women to up their numbers in parliament. They are taking over from male predecessors and that opportunity cannot be squandered because of egotistical interests. Women must come out in full force to support kin. They are their own liberators.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.