Coalition vital for voter mobilisation

Source: Coalition vital for voter mobilisation – DailyNews Live

30 May 2017

HARARE – Zimbabwe has a busy election calendar going into general
elections mid next year.

Thousands of Zimbabweans will seek elective office next year, running for
municipal, legislative, and presidential posts.

Few opposition parties have access to the financial resources needed to
campaign, produce and air commercials. Even long-standing incumbents in
legislative and municipal posts are often unknown to a majority of their

Elsewhere in this edition, we report MDC president Welshman Ncube calling
for a united opposition front in voter mobilisation programmes ahead of
the 2018 watershed elections.

Ncube is right, the opposition need to work together and unite to get rid
of Zanu PF once and for all. Like he rightly pointed out, if there is one
thing learnt from the last election, it is that there is no one person or
party that will be able to remove President Robert Mugabe on their own.

In order to reach large and geographically dispersed populations, the
voter mobilisation campaign often places enormous emphasis on resources to
bankroll mass communications and advertising.

A lot of money is needed to highlight the importance of these races, the
issues at stake and the attributes of the candidates. The typical election
tends to be waged on a smaller scale and at a more personal level.

The challenge that confronts all opposition parties in elections is to
target potential supporters and get them to the polls, while living within
the constraints of a tight campaign budget.

The run-up to the election has seen a hotchpotch of campaigns, the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led MDC has been conducting the #berekamwana voter mobilisation
campaign while Ncube’s party is currently involved in the #nyoresazvifaye
or #valangebhetshu campaigns – using personal contact with voters to
mobilise hundreds of youths to vote.

A personal approach to mobilising voters is generally more effective than
an impersonal approach. That is, the more personal the interaction between
campaign and potential voter, the more it raises a person’s chances of
voting. Door-to-door canvassing by friends and neighbours is the
gold-standard mobilisation tactic.

Making scarce campaign dollars go as far as possible requires those who
manage these campaigns to think hard about the trade-offs. As election day
approaches and campaigns move into top gear, the opposition parties’ aims
become quite similar and their purposes very narrow.

Ahead of the election, they are all homing in on one simple task – to get
their people to the polls. Each campaign struggles with the same basic
question: How should remaining resources be allocated in order to turn out
the largest number of targeted voters?

That is why Ncube’s call is important. Talk to economies of scale.


  • comment-avatar
    Nyoni 5 years ago

    The current constitution our supreme law document has stated the voting rights for all Zimbabweans. The opposition parties therefore should have voter registration booths in all the countries where the diaspora are residing. Not only is this legitimate but necessary. This is the only way to ensure the world sees we mean business this time around.