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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
and trivia in manifestos as parties fight for voters’ hearts
The Independent (Zimbabwe)
July 12, 2013
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on The Independent (Zimbabwe) website
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have launched their
parties’ manifestos, signalling the official start of electioneering
for polls on July 31, which look set to be a close call as they
are likely to follow established voting trends, with Zanu-PF winning
in its rural strongholds and the MDC-T prevailing in urban areas.
show that the MDC led by Professor Welshman Ncube, which has formed
an alliance with Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu, might win significant
seats in Matabeleland and Midlands, coming in-between the main parties
as the power broker.
After the launch
of campaigns, the three main parties and an avalanche of fly-by-night
political outfits, which normally emerge from the woodwork during
election years, have all entered the home stretch with just over
two weeks left before poll day.
the first out of the block launching its manifesto
in “the cradle of mass nationalism” - Highfield - as
the party tried to rejuvenate its dwindling support base.
It was in Highfield,
where Zanu-PF was formed, that Mugabe was welcomed by huge crowds
of Zimbabweans on the eve of Independence in 1980. It was also in
Highfield where the late veteran nationalist Joshua Nkomo was given
a house by Herbert Chitepo to organise his meetings.
Judging by policies
being propagated by different political parties for the forthcoming
elections, there is now a pragmatic shift in the electorate’s
expectations as people are no longer interested in mere speeches
and sloganeering, but issues which put food on their tables.
As a result,
Zanu-PF is mainly campaigning on the indigenisation platform, MDC-T
on job creation and MDC on devolution of power which it hawks as
a potential panacea to problems of over-centralisation and inclusion
of the marginalised masses in mainstream economic programmes and
While in Zimbabwe
policy issues are still not the ultimate game-changer, even if they
help in defining the identities and programmes of parties, the United
States presidential debates last year gave a glimpse of how policy-based
political campaigns make a difference rather than political leaders
engaging in name-calling and character assassination.
violence and intimidation relatively low compared to previous elections,
policy issues are slowly coming to the fore even though parties
are not able to competently substantiate their claims and explain
how they will achieve their objectives.
manifesto, themed Indigenise, Empower, Develop and Create Employment,
outlines 22 key goals set to define the party’s policies over
the next five years, while the MDC-T manifesto
is based on job creation, uplifting of the economy and defending
MDC-T says it
will create one million jobs in the next five years if voted into
challenge that confronts our economy today is unemployment,”
reads the party’s manifesto launched in Marondera last Sunday.
policy Jobs, Upliftment,
Investment Capital and the Environment (Juice), is our plan
to create jobs and build a strong growing economy.”
Zanu PF has
promised to create more than two million jobs through the party’s
indigenisation and empowerment initiatives.
will create 2,265 million jobs across key sectors of the economy
and contribute to export earnings, food security and to the fiscus
among many other benefits,” reads Zanu-PF’s manifesto.
MDC emphasises in its election manifesto, which will be launched
on July 20 in Binga, revitalisation of industry to create jobs as
companies have collapsed after decades of economic mismanagement
although its campaign is based on devolution of power.
The party has
already launched its economic policy Access, Control, Transformation,
Initiative, Organisation, New Technologies, Sustainability (Actions),
focusing on harnessing the country’s vast natural and human
resources for reconstruction.
access to resources, power and justice; control of destiny and welfare;
transformation of communities and strengthening livelihoods of Zimbabweans;
initiatives for wealth, job creation and organisation of all public
institutions to effectively deliver services, among other things,
are the answer to the country’s economic ills.
succeeding in campaigning for devolution in the new constitution,
the MDC has decided to push its campaign on that issue now resonating,
mainly in Manicaland, Matabeleland and Midlands.
At the launch
of MDC-T’s manifesto, Tsvangirai said his party is faced with
a task to right the wrongs done in the 33 years Mugabe has been
in power. “As demonstrated in our agenda for real transformation
(Art) of governance, we have plans to tackle the ills of this nation
after 33 years of bad governance, corruption, primitive accumulation
by the elite, lies and deception,” Tsvangirai said.
campaign is generally based on the themes of independence, sovereignty,
respect for the values and ideals of the liberation struggle, patriotism,
employment, housing and economic prosperity.
The party harks
back on claims of past achievements, such as the attainment of Independence,
the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu-PF and Zapu, the land
reform programme, education, health, gender advancement and security
analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya, who is also the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute
director, said the Zanu-PF manifesto compares poorly to the MDC-T’s
blueprint centred on jobs.
indigenisation message is not as attractive as the land reform and
cannot be compared to the jobs agenda which will drive the MDC-T,”
Ruhanya said. “MDC-T is cruising on the jobs campaign and
this has a bearing on the common people. The jobs agenda is appealing
to the electorate because people want food on their tables, not
promises of company shares which seem unrealistic.”
this election will be fought on real issues precisely because of
where the country is coming from.
is coming from near-collapse where we witnessed hyperinflation,
decay of the health sector, education and state institutions as
a result of authoritarian administration,” Ruhanya said. “Voters
will shun policies that will fly them back into the past, so parties
have to consolidate their policies so as not to reverse economic
gains made after the 2008
another political analyst, said the next election will be decided
by practical policies that will bring food on the table of the common
people and dismissed the indigenisation and empowerment programme
as “pie in the sky” for the majority of Zimbabweans.
will be enticed by policies that seek to resolve the effects of
economic decline and political meltdown Zimbabwe faced in the past
decade,” Shumba said. “However, Zanu-PF is in a fix
because for most communities, indigenisation and community share
ownership schemes are pie in the sky. They cannot hold it and enjoy
remain campaign gimmicks meant to win votes for the Zanu-PF party.
The whole idea is a lipstick of corporate social responsibility
which companies have been doing even before this law was introduced,
but it won’t work.” Shumba said.
polls say Mugabe and Zanu-PF have recovered since 2008 precisely
due to land reform and indigenisation policies, although continued
food shortages due to farm seizures and corruption rocking company
take-overs seem to diminish the purported gains on the programmes.
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