via Vocal people do not vote – DailyNews Live 1 October 2015
HARARE – While the only democratic way to remove President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF from power is through the ballot, most Zimbabweans do not bother to vote neither are they even registered as voters in the first place.
The majority of those guilty of not voting are mostly the well-heeled, the so-called educated and the sophisticated youths who can not queue for hours to cast their vote.
Most of them are too busy “looking for money” to attend political rallies while some have lost faith in voting arguing that Zimbabwe’s vote is always manipulated and rigged.
This group of people is also the most vocal when it comes to criticising the present Zanu PF government of human rights abuses, bad governance and corruption.
Interestingly, while they call for change from the terraces they never make an effort to voice their concerns through the ballot, a development that has seen Zanu PF always legally and constitutionally being restored into government.
The pattern at most Zanu PF and Movement for Democratic Change rallies is that the majority who attend are women while the aforementioned noisy group of academics and well-to-do people never attend.
It is also evident that this group of vocal people are cowards who when mass demonstrations and strikes are called by opposition political parties or even trade unions to voice concern at the deteriorating standards of life or even job losses, they hide in their shells only to come out guns blazing when the actions flop.
Zanu PF has capitalised on this and as their critics pour scorn on them, they mobilise their teams to visit thousands of apostolic sect churches across the country where they set up voter registration booths to register potential voters.
There they issue birth certificates and national identity cards — a catch as most of them had never had these documents in their lives.
For Zanu PF, the apostolic sects form a big captive voting block that can change Zimbabwe’s voting pattern as witnessed by Mugabe and most of his ministers who attend these sects’ sermons, wearing apostolic garb with the president even completing the spiritual regalia with the “famous” shepherd’s crook.
In most villages the headman, working on instructions from Zanu PF, has a list of all potential voters and he is mandated with making sure that they register and vote, to the extent of leading his entire village to the voting booths.
With the same list being used as a register to distribute government food aid and seed, this has left opposition political parties with a headache on how to penetrate these areas.
On the other hand the chiefs, who are equally biased towards Zanu PF, usually supervise the villages under their jurisdiction, making sure his subjects toe the line.
The rural areas have been a difficult area for opposition political parties to penetrate although the villages carry the biggest vote.
It is against this background that the opposition has to mobilise more potential urban voters to register, especially the aforementioned group who have been reluctant to participate in the previous elections.
Until Zimbabweans, especially those with opposing views, give themselves to registering as voters; Zanu PF will continue to “win” elections with big margins as the party seems well-oiled when it comes to registering its potential voters.
And voter education should start now as the 2018 election is just a stone’s throw away. Civil society and opposition political parties should go on overdrive to persuade their members to register to vote.
And it is time that the well-off, the so-called educated and the sophisticated youths register as voters because every vote counts.