STAFF WRITER 28 July 2018
HARARE – On Monday, over 5,6 million voters in Zimbabwe will give the
first significant electoral verdict on the political parties since the
departure in November of long-ruling despot Robert Mugabe.
Voters will get the chance to bring in their verdict on the 23
presidential candidates running, those running for the National Assembly
and the local authorities. But no one should pretend that Zimbabwe will
speak with one voice.
Quite the reverse.
These elections appear more likely than at any time in the recent past to
emphasise Zimbabwe’s own large and deepening political differences.
These range from the difference between opinion and politics, to contrasts
between and within the many differing communities. July 30 matters. Every
contestant is hoping for a good outcome. But elections by their very
nature produce winners and losers.
Voters must ensure they bestow office on candidates who are skilled,
highly-judicious, and with love for the people.
More importantly, the result of the election must be respected by all.
Of course, this election cycle was fraught with polarisation, with one
party harbouring deep enmity for the other party’s presidential candidate.
Any way the election unfolds, outrage and protests on either sides of the
isle is inevitable because everyone hates losing.
The country expects a protest, and anyone is free to do so because it’s
the constitutionally guaranteed right of every citizen.
But, people must be able to express their discontent and unhappiness so
long as it’s within reasonable bounds, and it does not affect the freedoms
of others and does not damage property.
There is nothing wrong with waving placards to express discontent, but
this must never be allowed to degenerate into physical confrontation
warranting the intervention of security forces. Yes, the political climate
is full of distrust, but trust for the election process must be the bare
minimum. After all, everyone who is participating hopes the process has
some modicum of fairness.
There’s nothing worse ? or less presidential ? than a sore loser.
Candidates are doing the country a great disservice by suggesting the
outcome of this election is out of his hands and already “rigged” against
There is no cogent evidence to support these claims. Of course, there are
concerns about the murky process run by Zec, the refusal to avail the
final voter register, controversy around ballot papers and so on.
But all contestants must commit to accept the results of the election. All
candidates must support a peaceful transition of power. Not everyone can