Alliance for the People’s Agenda (APA) presidential candidate Nkosana Moyo may have set a record in the election campaign by attracting a mere 15 people at his campaign event in Masvingo last week.
By Tatenda Chitagu
Among the small crowd were journalists, members of the government’s spy agencies and his aides.
However, Moyo is unfazed by the poor turnout, claiming his is a different kind of campaign that does not promote corruption but rather gives the electorate a chance to interview him and assess him, just like in a normal recruitment process at a company.
“I do not hold rallies and dole out t-shirts. I do not buy freebies or beer for people who pester me for that.
“This has partly destroyed our country. Elections should not be turned into a transaction.
“If you see a candidate buying the electorate things, you should ask yourself where he gets that money.
“It may be your money as a taxpayer.
“And you complain about corruption when you have started it by demanding freebies from the candidates. It breeds corrupt practices.”
Forget the bussing of supporters in open heavy-duty trucks chanting party songs and resplendent with regalia to rallies at open-air spaces and stadia, the trademark of political campaigns in the country, characterised by violence in the past.
In place of rallies, Moyo holds discussions, question-and-answer sessions, informal meetings, face-to-face talks with the electorate on the street and walk-ins at different places that attract few people.
It is two-way communication: He knocks on people’s doors, asks them what they feel should be done to make Zimbabwe great again, and he gets asked, while also giving his input and plans if elected to power.
“The reason why we do not do rallies is because we want you the audience to be able to conduct an interview with the prospective candidate in meetings like these, that is, you ask me questions and I answer you,” he said.
“I give you promises, you look at my track record, but lastly you should now do an interview in the same manner you do when hiring at a company.
“That is the way we structured this approach. Process-wise, you should take 23 presidential candidates and line them up, look at their promises as one component, their history, evidence that they are up to the task of fixing the economy, where did you work, do you know about the economy, have you ever handled investors, do you have banking history.
“Then you do an interview like meetings like I am having.
“Our campaign is called ‘friends and family’ because we know where we came from. in spite of the so-called new dispensation, our people are still suspicious because we have been abused for a long time, even during the Ian Smith era.
“So to say people will change and trust politicians overnight is a lie. The only people you can trust are friends and family, that is why our campaign is called friends and family.
“Our networks, because of the extended family, should mean that the knowledgeable should also tell their relatives in the rural areas about the elections.
“This is not a Nkosana Moyo campaign, it is a campaign for all Zimbabweans because this is our country.
“We are all agents for change, Nkosana is just but one of the people who has offered himself to say I can lead.
“But we all have to determine the future of our kids and our country.”
Moyo says people should choose the right person for the job after assessing what needs to be fixed in the country.
“We are trying to make Zimbabweans understand that choosing an MP, councillor or president should be on the basis of understanding what needs to be done so you can choose the best candidate for the job,” he said.
“If you have an electricity fault, you do not look for a plumber but an electrician.
“We cannot afford to continue thinking that the liberation fighters can fix the economy, yes they did their job and finished it of liberating us.
“It is time for them to hand over the baton stick, just like in a relay.
“You should choose the right man for the job. We have to find the right man to fix the economy.
“Look at the reputation of the candidate giving you promises. it is like hiring so you have to look at the CVs, track record, where they work, their backgrounds, the evidence that one can fix the economy, does the candidate know about the economy, how to handle investors?
“That is what you have to do. You do not just consider a candidate on the basis of promises because most promises are not fulfilled.
“In elections, like any other recruitment, this is recruitment for the president, MP or councillor.”
At the end of the two-hour interface, Moyo appealed to journalists to vote for him.
“You are citizens of Zimbabwe first and foremost before you assume your journalistic roles,” he said.
“You also want a good country, a good economy. So you should also vote for someone you know will do you right,” he said.
Asked about his chances given the low turnout at his meetings, Moyo said if were to people follow his way of choosing leaders, he would win.
“About me winning . . . the answer does not come from me. It lies with the Zimbabweans who I give that process, otherwise I will be involved in conflict of interest since I am one of the candidates . . . but if people follow my ways of how to choose a leader, I will win,” he added.
“ So if the people follow what I am saying, I do not have any no competition. That is how I see it.”
Whether his approach, though noble, will work, only time will tell, come July 30.