Political blemishes or blames: What counts?

22 Jul, 2018 - 00:07 0 Views
Political blemishes or blames: What counts? Justice Priscilla Chigumba

The Sunday News

Justice Priscilla Chigumba

Justice Priscilla Chigumba

Micheal Mhlanga

A political party is an organised association of people working together to compete for political office and promote agreed-upon policies. It is a group of people, which is organised with the aim of winning governmental power, by electoral or other means.

From this and many other definitions, political parties are very important for democratisation and democratic consolidation.

Political parties in democracies like Zimbabwe are necessary to train, select and recruit candidates for governmental and parliamentary positions; to formulate government policies and programmes; to gather and implement demands from a society; and to supervise and check a government. The racing question would be: Are the 30 July contestants evident of this?

Oh! Dear reader, let me not dampen your divine Sunday with a clump of definitions by old dead men, in fact the intention of this article is not to lecture you of what political parties are, but an extension of my analysis of the serene electoral environment we have — a very peaceful one since we became independent.

If there are any better markers of freeness and fairness of electoral character, please care to share them with me before Monday next week and we see if Zimbabwe does not already have that.

Surveys tip the continuity of the status quo

They blame even scientific findings. Two key surveys were launched by Think-tanks this past week — both Pan African, independent and non-partisan — underline non-partisan.

One by Leaders for Africa Network-LAN (an organisation co-founded by MSU and LSU students), and another by the now popular Afro barometer. Of interest is how the surveys were independently conducted but perambulate to a similar conclusion, however, both acknowledging slight, yet not-out-of the-world reservations. I want to bring to your attention the corresponding samples of the two independent non-partisan surveys.

Afro barometer’s scientifically referred sample is 2 400 voting adults in all Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces while LAN’s sample was 2 500 voting adults from 10 provinces as well — scholastic coincidence you say.

LAN reports that 71% of Zimbabweans want to maintain the status quo and 70% think that Zec is independent; translating to the credibility of the electoral outcome: This according to Zimbabweans whom the election is meant for. The people-povo-masses-abantu-vanhu say so, it is not an institution’s opinion. On the other side, Afro barometer reports that the electoral environment is serene.

What the two surveys assert is that people are ready to vote and they are excited about the conditions set and existing for them to vote. This is regardless of their political preferences, whether they are Zanu, ZIPP, NCA, MRP or MDCs, the underlying factor is that they are excited to cast their votes without coercion and they trust the outcome.

So, who is an illegitimate political party leader who usurped power from the people who are supporting the electoral system to make a rumpus about in-existent electoral disorder? Can the whole nation be held at ransom by a few individuals scared of their political fate because of maladroitness? Aren’t Zimbabweans fervent for jobs, a better welfare, improved self-esteem and security more than political party disorganisation? The masses spoke in November and they spoke through scientific surveys and they shall speak next Monday through the ballot — let us wait for August 1 and leave pre-emptive excuses aside. Aren’t you ignoring your evident blemishes that people are despising you of?

Misogynists never tire
Misogyny: Classical 21st century blemish — it counts to the people who vote; they judge. Amusingly this past week again, is how one tagged to be the once cartooned and alleged Baba Jukwa discredits Justice Chigumba because of her personal life.

So from demanding to know the type of paper used to print the ballot and the pen which should not be magical, lying resources have shifted to Justice Chigumba’s bedroom? Omaigot! says the social media fanatics, we have not heard enough from this cabal, kumagumo kunenyaya zveshuwa! Logic does not deny Justice Chigumba social mobility because she has an intimate life unless the office of Commissioner-hood is one of celibacy.

Public office and nunnery are two different things and for the case of Chigumba and whoever, there is no direct attachment to how the electoral outcome is compromised by their feelings towards each other.

Firstly, if the logic of her compromise holds water then she should not be a judge at all because her partner has interests in the private sector hence any court involvement (should it be there) is compromised. Secondly, should the said man as an individual terminate a relationship with a progressive and successful woman of his liking because she occupies a public office she deserves and was recommended by those who slander her today? If we were to tail that subaltern logic then all successful women would be single and divorced.

Until and unless opposition shows a direct and unshadowy compromise of electoral outcome by the two then the accusation is unsubstantiated. Well, I understand opposition to a certain degree; the works of misogyny reside in dwarfed minds —  sorry Comrades; think before you rush to attack fine and successful women all in the name of illogical curated professionalism.

They blame others for their failures
It is their blemish: What the Alliance has failed is simply an election campaign. Because of a defective primary election, it dawns to them that the national mandate will not be bestowed upon them.

This spells a lot of financial Armageddon to most of them. They left out simple campaign basics and because of that they will lose.

They compromised the process of electing their own and now the masses will punish them. Many of their candidates have no idea of what they want to do at the Town house or Parliament; it is a “sizabona sesikhonangale” moment for them — an Aha!! Moment.

Let me take them to basics
It’s essential that every campaign has a theory of how to win the election. This has to be a given at the outset of any campaign.

It is astonishing how many candidates in our elections that I have observed, start their campaigns with no concrete idea of how they can win. Too often candidates file to run for offices and then “see what happens”. That is not a strategy.

Comrades in the Alliance, every campaign should start with the question, “How can I win?” Unfortunately, many times your decision is made on the basis of anecdotal evidence or by simply assuming that because in towns they ‘hated’ Zanu-PF, victory is assured.

In places where one party is dominant in the general election the primary election becomes the most important and you missed it there. For most elections this is the norm. The reason is that the primary election voter is generally considered a different breed of cat than the general election voter.

That will call for a different campaign strategy. A working definition of a primary voter is someone who has a record of voting in one or two of the last two primary elections — unfortunately you missed that too.

Developing a plan and implementing it is where the rubber meets the road. Albert Einstein’s quote about knowledge is right on point here. “The only source of knowledge is experience”. Einstein’s point applied to campaigning is that it takes a lot of experience in elections to be able to devise a winning strategy even though one might have some insights into the process.

Campaign methodology is developed from both winning and losing elections. So often a campaign knows generally what to do but cannot get volunteers, or cannot raise money or cannot focus their efforts on what it takes to win. Simply put, successful implementation takes experience in election campaigns.

You may have the greatest campaign plan ever written but if you cannot implement it, it is worthless. That’s where experienced advice is invaluable and could be the difference between winning and losing. It is the toughest part of building a winning campaign.

Even if countless miniatures are used as blames of their demise, it is their astute blemish and the people usually punish for that. So Comrades, if you still cannot believe that Chamisa lost this election when he allowed his vanguard to almost burn MaKhuphe in a hut in Buhera, then wait for next week. If you are in denial that the only implausible election was the Alliance primaries then wait and see when their supporters punish them in Bulawayo. If you did not believe me in 2016 when I said #2018willtell then . . .

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