COMMENT: Second Republic should be rewarded with fresh, resounding mandate on August 23 harmonised elections

THE country is now firmly on the road to elections after President Mnangagwa, on Wednesday, fixed August 23 as the day when the people with elect their president, legislators and councilors.

The Nomination Court will sit on June 21 to receive papers of people wishing to represent their parties in the election. Presidential candidates will pay a nomination fee of US$20 000 and US$1 000 for aspiring legislators. If none of the presidential candidates secures 50 percent plus one vote, the leading two will fight it out in a run-off on October 2.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) concluded voter registration for the August election on Friday. The body has been readying itself to run a flawless election.  Chief elections officer, Mr Utloile Silaigwana said at the weekend that the body is adequately resourced to discharge its mandate.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)

Immediately after the sitting of the Nomination Court, Zec will print ballot papers.  It will also carry out voter education across the country and across communication platforms to sensitise the people on what they are expected to do for them to vote, how they must conduct themselves and so on.

Thus, the country is headed for an exciting 80 days as politicians seek ways into the hearts and minds of the electorate.  Whoever has the best message, the best track record and so on will surely win it.

The list of protagonists will, as usual, be led by Zanu-PF, in office for the past 43 years. The party is working on its manifesto for the forthcoming election and the document, detailing the party’s achievements over the past five years and pledges for the next five, will soon be unveiled.

President Mnangagwa

History has told us that the party doesn’t rest; as soon as it wins an election as it has done since 1980, it begins to campaign for the next one.  It campaigns by delivering over its five-year mandate, by implementing programmes and activities as guided by its manifesto.

Apart from electing, at its December 2022 congress, President Mnangagwa to represent it in this year’s poll, the revolutionary party conducted primary elections for all legislative and local elections positions.

It has given each of its 210 parliamentary candidates a vehicle, among other resources, to ensure an effective campaign.  Today, the President will launch a five-day induction workshop for all its parliamentary candidates in Gweru.

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) looks to be the second on the queue.

However, the party has nothing yet apart from its leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa who has indicated a willingness to challenge for the presidency.  Without a name for a long time since it broke away from MDC-T after the 2018 harmonised election, CCC still lacks structures. It claims being structureless is a political strategy, not disorder and directionlessness.

In addition, it still does not have candidates, just 16 days before the Nomination Court sits.  A number of people it tapped to represent it have rebuffed it. Bulawayo lawyer, Mr Sindiso Mazibisa is among them.

Apart from lacking structures and candidates, we think the party lacks resources to mount a notable campaign as well.

Mr Nelson Chamisa

MDC-T leader, Mr Douglas Mwonzora will likely feature in his first presidential election since he won an internal poll in September 2021. Professor Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly will make a second attempt, having finished 17th in the race in 2018.

Mr Robert Chapman, for a long time, resident in the US, returned home a few months ago to become probably the first opposition leader to hit the campaign trail. The Democratic Union of Zimbabwe leader does occasional walkabouts, handshakes with the public and posts on social media, Nkosana Moyo-style.  What impact will he have?  The people will decide but some things speak for themselves.

Five years of massive infrastructural building, economic growth and stability, entrenchment of democracy and peace and development that leaves no place, no person behind should be rewarded with a fresh, resounding mandate on August 23.

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