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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
to remember what elections are really about
July 15, 2013
this country have been weighed down with so much baggage over the
years - intimidation, harassment, deception, contradictions and
of course brutal violence that our minds are constantly whirling.
In this election
confusion reigns supreme.
It started off
with uncertainty, moved to understanding, then uncertainty, then
confusion and now we are in that space of messy muddle. Not because
we’re muddled but because the best way to distract a nation
is to get their attention caught up with diversions. These distractions
are important to take care of but at the same they manage to divert
people from what they should be concentrating on and spending their
deplete the intellectual, emotional, physical and financial resources
of people, organisations and institutions.
It started so
much earlier. Yes, we all knew that elections had to take place
this year - but we were never really certain. Are we having elections
this year or not? Well, yes we are? Ok, when? Not sure! Then Oh!
The date’s been set - July 31 - it goes on and on and the
violations, contradictions and conflicts escalate in volume and
and shenanigans are endless and so our whirling minds never really
come to rest. It means that we really don’t have the time
to contemplate or focus on what we need to think about. We lose
the essence of what is relevant, important and normal!!
You know what
it feels like?
It feels like
balls being juggled in the air that never land. You don’t
get to catch even one. So it becomes impossible to form tangible
thoughts that make sense. The sense of all that matters and that
is important seems to be suspended in mid air.
are half formed and half answered - there are questions that are
going through everyone’s mind and before you get to answer
even one, your mind is already moving on.
Do I take part
in this process which is flawed in so many ways. Well yes . . .
but . . . Well, If I don’t take part what does it mean. I
have to, need to and must take part. I have to vote. Disconnecting
myself is not an option, even when people go on and on about the
all the chaos, confusion and deception, I make myself go back to
the core of elections to remind myself that after July 31 I am stuck
with council, MP, Senator for the next 5 years.
So what am I
voting for - yes, yes I know what you’re thinking. In Zimbabwe
the question is not that simple, but if things were different -
normal that is - the conversation would be so different. We would
all be comparing candidates instead of questioning the legitimacy,
accountability and transparency of an election.
If we really
had the opportunity to have our opinions considered and if all was
well in the world - our minds would have to ponder over different
things and our inner conversations would focus on what is significant!
I know what
is key for me in this election. It’s the conversation that
should be taking place on the bus, on the kombi, at beerhalls, in
schools, in queues, during coffee breaks at work and anywhere and
bring sanity back to the insane.
What are the
qualities that we want in our MP/Senator/Councillor so they represent
us meaningfully and effectively?
start that conversation right here and right now.
Why am I voting
for him or for her?
What are the qualities he/she has that makes them suitable enough.
What qualities should they have?
I can start
off this conversation care of Lilian Wade - who discusses the good
qualities of public officials and the one l agree with and feel
is top of the list - commitment which she defines in exactly the
way we should expect our public officials to act:
courage and defies difficulties and distractions. Commitment breeds
competence, and it compels you to suppress your needs and interests
for the greater good of the populace. As a public official you dedicate
yourself to concerns such as improving the quality of life, addressing
social issues, improving opportunities and ensuring equal rights.
Issues that affect your constituents are a primary focus of any
elected public official.
Well put, don’t
you think. If you agree then the natural follow on’s would
- Honesty -
people need to trust you and believe what you say. You have to
conduct yourself with integrity.
- you will have to make decisions that others may not like or
- and please remember you are accountable to the people, so is
your party actually.
- You need
to be disciplined because that will make you effective and efficient?
It means you are less susceptible to the illegal and corrupt.
- Can you
bring out the best in others or are you constantly in conflict
- Are you
a problem solver or do you complain and blame others?
The role of
senators and MPs is not to sink boreholes in their district just
before election time or to ensure that road are built or that there
is electrification. If they do want to do something for their constituencies
it is an added bonus.
In actual fact,
that is the role of councillors.
MPs and Senators
have to make meaningful contributions in Parliament - are people
accessing ARVs, why is there such a high mortality rate for pregnant
women, should education modules be reviewed to keep up with changing
trends. They must do research. They should speak to stakeholders.
So you ask, why is it important for MPs and Senators to know this.
Well if they understood critical issues they would then interrogate
them more meaningfully. They would be forced to review and understand
the legislation and policies they are voting yay or nay for.
I was never
sure to laugh or cry when I read about the Senator who told Zimbabwe
Parliamentarians during a sensitisation workshop that HIV is spreading
at an alarming rate because men find it difficult to resist women
because they are becoming more attractive. His solution to this
was ensure women always have bald heads, lose weight and dress shabbily
to reduce their attractiveness as part of measures to curb the spread
I realise that
because so many council seats were unopposed, the majority of our
councillors are members of ZANU PF.
is simple - please focus on service delivery. We are an intelligent
nation - we realise that power cuts are inevitable - so sit down
on our behalf - the people you represent - and negotiate that power
cuts/load shedding whatever you want to label it is carried out
in a systematic way so that we can plan our lives. Businesses cannot
plan or thrive when the power is cut suddenly. Families can work
out options. We could all be more productive and happier if we could
work to a schedule - not just one on paper - a schedule that really
Stop being part
of the corrupt tendering processes - your gain is only short term.
If you haven’t gained, then it is even more important that
you speak out or expose illegal decisions. Eventually your part
in this corruption either by your silence or your acquiescence will
impact on you, your family and of course everyone else.
The next time
you are racing to the airport, just remember, several years on,
the dual carriageway to and from the airport should have been complete.
A mall should
not be built on a wetland because you are getting a kickback. In
10 years you will need to spend even more money purifying water
than we rare now. Except in a few years your being elected or re-elected
will seriously depend on how you deliver - to the people that is.
What all this
means is that elections are about accountability to the people!
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